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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : May 09, 2013

If you're happy and you know it, tell your phone

Facebook may ask you how you're feeling, but a new app developed by scientists at the UK's Cambridge University uses smartphone sensors and psychological feedback to tell you how you're feeling.

by Helen Leggatt

Called EmotionSense, the Android app combines a user's mood reports (designed by psychologists and presented at different times of the day) with data collected automatically by the smartphone, such as background noise, volume of calls and texts, movement and who they are interacting with.

The sensor collecting the data is used for one week after which it marries up the user-entered mood data with the automatically collected data. The app also connects to Facebook so that certain personal data can be used in the research. This information is then coupled with the results of a life satisfaction survey to discover what triggers certain moods. This continues for eight weeks, after which the full range of the app's sensors will have been tested against the mood reports.

"Behind the scenes, smartphones are constantly collecting data that can turn them into a key medical and psychological tool. Any smartphone now comes with numerous sensors that can tell you about aspects of your life, like how active you are, or how sociable you have been in the past 24 hours," said team member Dr Neal Lathia, a research associate at Cambridge University's Computer Laboratory. "In the long term, we hope to be able to extract that data so that, for example, it can be used for therapeutic purposes."

A paper (.pdf) detailing a system overview and implementation for EmotionSense can be read online.

Who knows, one day such apps could be used to discover how shoppers feel when in a store, using a product, or engaging with customer service. What other uses can you think of for EmotionSense?

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: app, mobile, mood, psychology, smartphone

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