Agriculture
Keeping Bugs Away from Food
Making the most of a meal
Middle school science adventures
Amphibians
Tree Frogs
Poison Dart Frogs
Bullfrogs
Animals
Color-Changing Bugs
Gliders in the Family
Vent Worms Like It Hot
Behavior
Storing Memories before Bedtime
Bringing fish back up to size
Listen and Learn
Birds
Quails
Tropical Birds
Kiwis
Chemistry and Materials
Sticky Silky Feet
Bang, Sparkle, Burst, and Boom
Supergoo to the rescue
Computers
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
Two monkeys see a more colorful world
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Hall of Dinos
An Ancient Feathered Biplane
Dino Takeout for Mammals
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
Earth from the inside out
Bugs with Gas
Environment
A 'Book' on Every Living Thing
Ready, unplug, drive
Swimming with Sharks and Stingrays
Finding the Past
Writing on eggshells
Fakes in the museum
A Volcano's Deadly Ash
Fish
Lungfish
Nurse Sharks
Great White Shark
Food and Nutrition
Chew for Health
Yummy bugs
How Super Are Superfruits?
GSAT English Rules
Pronouns
Who vs. That vs. Which
Subject and Verb Agreement
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Scholarship
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Mathematics
A Sweet Advance in Candy Packing
Monkeys Count
How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
Human Body
Opening a Channel for Tasting Salt
Foul Play?
Spit Power
Invertebrates
Lice
Horseshoe Crabs
Fleas
Mammals
Giant Panda
Glider
Sheep
Parents
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Physics
Electric Backpack
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
Spin, Splat, and Scramble
Plants
Tracking the Sun Improves Plant Pollen
Springing forward
White fuzzy mold not as friendly as it looks
Reptiles
Reptiles
Copperhead Snakes
Box Turtles
Space and Astronomy
Witnessing a Rare Venus Eclipse
Intruder Alert: Sweeping Space for Dust
Black Holes That Burp
Technology and Engineering
Searching for Alien Life
Slip Sliming Away
Space Umbrellas to Shield Earth
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
What is a Preposition?
What is a Verb?
Transportation
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Where rivers run uphill
How to Fly Like a Bat
Weather
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
Watering the Air
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
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™