Agriculture
Seeds of the Future
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Got Milk? How?
Amphibians
Salamanders and Newts
Frogs and Toads
Newts
Animals
Thieves of a Feather
A Tongue and a Half
Return of the Lost Limbs
Behavior
Brainy bees know two from three
Eating Troubles
Brain cells take a break
Birds
Kiwis
Owls
Ospreys
Chemistry and Materials
Bang, Sparkle, Burst, and Boom
Batteries built by Viruses
Small but WISE
Computers
Toxic Dirt + Avian Flu = Science Fair Success
Games with a Purpose
Hitting the redo button on evolution
Dinosaurs and Fossils
An Ancient Spider's Web
Watery Fate for Nature's Gliders
Dinosaurs Grow Up
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
A Great Quake Coming?
Snowflakes and Avalanches
Challenging the Forces of Nature
Environment
Whale Watch
Swimming with Sharks and Stingrays
Cactus Goo for Clean Water
Finding the Past
Fakes in the museum
A Volcano's Deadly Ash
Stone Age Sole Survivors
Fish
Goldfish
Skates
Piranha
Food and Nutrition
Allergies: From Bee Stings to Peanuts
Moving Good Fats from Fish to Mice
A Taste for Cheese
GSAT English Rules
Problems with Prepositions
Adjectives and Adverbs
Capitalization Rules
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Mathematics
It's a Math World for Animals
Secrets of an Ancient Computer
Math of the World
Human Body
Taste Messenger
Tapeworms and Drug Delivery
Heavy Sleep
Invertebrates
Walking Sticks
Tapeworms
Praying Mantis
Mammals
Manxes
Cocker Spaniels
Cats
Parents
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
How children learn
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
Black Hole Journey
Speedy stars
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
Plants
Springing forward
A Giant Flower's New Family
A Change in Leaf Color
Reptiles
Boa Constrictors
Snakes
Crocodilians
Space and Astronomy
Ready, Set, Supernova
World of Three Suns
Saturn's New Moons
Technology and Engineering
Algae Motors
Young Scientists Take Flight
Spinach Power for Solar Cells
The Parts of Speech
What is a Noun
What is a Verb?
Adjectives and Adverbs
Transportation
Troubles with Hubble
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Reach for the Sky
Weather
Recipe for a Hurricane
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
Catching Some Rays
Add your Article

Computers with Attitude

It's been a long day at school. You've got a heavy evening of homework ahead. You switch on your computer to work on an assignment. An animated kid on your computer screen smiles and says, "Hey, it's good to see you again. But you look tired. Are you doing OK?" You reply that you're feeling pretty wiped out, but you've got a research project to do. You rub your eyes and yawn. "I know the feeling," your computer-kid replies, blinking and sighing. "But don't worry. We'll get through it together in no time." f a friendly, caring computer like this sounds far-fetched to you, think again. Computer scientists and engineers are busy trying to design computers that can recognize how you're feeling. The computers would then offer help or just a little friendly company while you work or play. But it may be years before you'll have a computer that can tell when you're bored and responds by telling you a joke. Or a computer that cheers you on and gives you hints when you're feeling frustrated with a math problem. Keyboard or mouse Think about how you interact with your computer now. You can type on a keyboard or click a mouse. Maybe you can also pound on a joypad, press on a touch screen, or even speak into a microphone. The computer has no idea when you're frustrated with it. It can't tell whether you're bored or entertained. When it comes to how you're feeling, your computer hasn't got a clue. This severely limits a computer's ability to help you, says Winslow Burleson. He's a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Burleson is one of many computer scientists who predict that computers someday will recognize human emotions and respond to them. This idea belongs to a field in computer science known as "sensitive computing" or "affective computing." The word "affective" refers to anything related to emotions. Computer buddies For a computer to sense your feelings, it needs more input than just your stroke on a keyboard or your movement of a mouse. Ideally, an affective computer would hear, see, and even touch its users, says computer scientist Rosalind Picard. Such a computer needs sensors, such as cameras and microphones. It must then interpret what it senses. What does a smile or frown mean? How does your tone of voice suggest whether you're excited, angry, or bored? At MIT's Affective Computing Lab, Picard and her students are building several systems that can do some of these things. One is called the Learning Companion. It's a software buddy that can be added to educational programs, such as quizzes and lessons. The Learning Companion generates an animated character—a kid—on the computer screen. The screen kid helps you out with whatever problem you're working on. "Right now, the character can smile, look at you, wave hello and good-bye," Burleson says. "It can jump up and down in excitement or in a frustrated tantrum." Burleson predicts that, eventually, this virtual kid will use input from sensors to tell whether you're paying attention. It'll also respond to your changing mood as you work at the computer. It'll know when to step in to help and when to stand by and let you keep working on your own. A computer's senses The current version of the Learning Companion uses five different sensors to learn about a student sitting at a computer. Two sensors are cameras. One camera focuses on your face, tracking changes that can show how you're feeling. For example, are you biting your lip or laughing? The second camera tracks what you're looking at to learn what's holding your attention. It might be a something on the screen or a person on the other side of the room. The computer's mouse has a pressure sensor. Clicking the mouse really hard or over and over again can be a sign of frustration, Burleson explains. A skin sensor detects how much your hands are sweating. Sweaty palms may indicate anxiety. The fifth sensor checks your posture. Are you on the edge of your seat or slouching? But here's where things get complicated. A student's posture by itself doesn't necessarily indicate interest or boredom. Some kids slouch even when they're engrossed in what they're doing. And a frown doesn't always mean frustration. For some kids, it might mean they're just busy thinking about a puzzle. You can usually tell how a friend is feeling by watching her face or listening to the tone of her voice. Evaluating a combination of signals automatically comes naturally to you. Teaching a computer to do the same thing is difficult. That's what Burleson and his colleagues are working on. Future companions What might a Learning Companion of the future be like? "A lot of things we see in science fiction might become available," Burleson says. "There could be peer robots that play with you, enhancing your abilities and your creativity." Picard has suggested that computer games could monitor how scared you are and award extra points for brave game-play. It's not just computers that may become buddies. How about an MP3 player that senses when you're feeling stressed and selects music to calm you down? Or a cell phone that knows you just got some great news and automatically dials your best friend's number? For Picard, the biggest question isn't whether it's possible for computers to do all these things. It's whether people will be ready to deal with them when they do. Will you?

Computers with Attitude
Computers with Attitude








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™