Agriculture
Watching out for vultures
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Treating peanut allergy bit by bit
Amphibians
Newts
Bullfrogs
Tree Frogs
Animals
Pothole Repair, Insect-style
A Seabird's Endless Summer
Copybees
Behavior
Lost Sight, Found Sound
Math is a real brain bender
Babies Prove Sound Learners
Birds
A Meal Plan for Birds
Cranes
Parakeets
Chemistry and Materials
The hottest soup in New York
Sugary Survival Skill
The Incredible Shrunken Kids
Computers
Games with a Purpose
Toxic Dirt + Avian Flu = Science Fair Success
Hubble trouble doubled
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Hunting by Sucking, Long Ago
Did Dinosaurs Do Handstands?
Middle school science adventures
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
A Grim Future for Some Killer Whales
Rocking the House
Ancient Heights
Environment
The Down Side of Keeping Clean
Inspired by Nature
Snow Traps
Finding the Past
If Only Bones Could Speak
Big Woman of the Distant Past
Stonehenge Settlement
Fish
Parrotfish
Saltwater Fish
Perches
Food and Nutrition
Packing Fat
Eat Out, Eat Smart
The mercury in that tuna
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. Whom
Problems with Prepositions
Who vs. That vs. Which
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT Exam Preparation
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Exam Preparation
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Mathematics
Math and our number sense: PassGSAT.com
Play for Science
Deep-space dancers
Human Body
Speedy Gene Gives Runners a Boost
Heart Revival
From Stem Cell to Any Cell
Invertebrates
Fleas
Scorpions
Shrimps
Mammals
Spectacled Bear
Sea Lions
Wombats
Parents
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
How children learn
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
Spin, Splat, and Scramble
Invisibility Ring
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Plants
Nature's Alphabet
Fastest Plant on Earth
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Reptiles
Reptiles
Box Turtles
Rattlesnakes
Space and Astronomy
Ringing Saturn
A Puffy Planetary Puzzle
Wrong-way planets do gymnastics
Technology and Engineering
Slip Sliming Away
Squeezing Oil from Old Wells
Toy Challenge
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Pronouns
Adjectives and Adverbs
Transportation
Ready, unplug, drive
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Weather
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
The solar system's biggest junkyard
A Change in Climate
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™