This is the first part of our Blast from the Past series where we share some episodes from our company history. These episodes focus on collaborations and inventions that seemed very promising in the beginning, but eventually did not turn into products that we actually sold or are selling to customers.
One of these episodes is our collaboration with the US semiconductor manufacturer Qualcomm. We first connected to Qualcomm through an acquaintance in Tokyo and evenutally entered into an agreement to co-develop intellectual property related to the research field of emotional computing.
Emotional computing isn’t a new field of research. For decades computer scientists have worked on modelling, measuring and actuating human emotion. The goal of doing this accurately and predictively has so far been elusive.
The purpose of our collaboration with Qualcomm was to create intellectual property related to this topic, in the context of health care and the automotive space.
Affective Computing Concepts
As part of the program we worked on various ideas ranging from relatively simple sensory devices to complete affective control systems to control the emotional state of a user. Two examples of these approaches to emotional computing are shown below.
The Skin Color Sensor was supposed to have the simple function of measuring the color of the facial complexion of a user, with the goal of estimating aspects of the emotional state of the person from this data. The sensor was to have the shape of a small, unobtrusive patch to be attached to a spot on the forehead of the user.
Another affective computing concept we worked on was the Affectactic Engine. A little device that would measure the emotional state of a user via an electromyography sensor and accelerometer. Simply speaking we imagined that high muscle tension and certain motion patterns would correspond to a stressed emotional state of the user or represent a “twitch” a user might have.
The user was to be reminded of entering this “stressed” emotional state by vibrations emitted from the device. The device was to be attached to the body of the user by a wrist band, with the goal of reminding the user of certain subconscious stress states.
Patent Families and Trademarks
Whereas the collaboration with Qualcomm did not result in an actual product that we eventually sold, we did register several patents in the general area of affective computing:
To represent the intellectual property and potentialy resulting products connected to this context of affective computing we created the EmotionCore trademark.