Emotion-aware mobile music player

An intriguing notion: an Emotion-aware mobile music player described in a paper by andor Dornbush, Kevin Fisher, Kyle McKay, Alex Prikhodko, and Zary Segall at the soon-to-be International Conference on Mobile Technology, Applications and Systems (2006)

the notion of collecting human emotion and activity information from the user, and explore how this information could be used to improve the user experience with mobile music players. (...) a mobile MP3 player, XPod, which is able to automate the process of selecting the song best suited to the emotion and the current activity of the user. The XPod concept is based on the idea of automating much of the interaction between the music player and its user. (...) After an initial training period, the XPod is able to use its internal algorithms to make an educated selection of the song that would best fit its user's emotion and situation. We use the data gathered from a streaming version of the BodyMedia SenseWear to detect different levels of user activity and emotion. After determining the state of the user the neural network engine compares the user's current state, time, and activity levels to past user song preferences matching the existing set of conditions and makes a musical selection. The XPod system was trained to play different music based on the user’s activity level. A simple pattern was used so the state dependant customization could be verified. XPod successfully learned the pattern of listening behavior exhibited by the test user. As the training proceeded the XPod learned the desired behavior and chose music to match the preferences of the test user. XPod automates the process of choosing music best suited for a user’s current activity. The success of the initial implementation of XPod concepts provides the basis for further exploration of human- and emotion-aware mobile music players.

Read their paper here (pdf)

Why do I blog this? human- and emotion-aware technology is still in its infancy, I am curious to see how it can be included into the interaction design of various technologies (especially video-games) and what would be the users' reaction, i.e the adequation of the output (in this case the mp3 played) and the users' reaction: would there be a real matching? will it be well received. Also, the dark side of my mind think about potential hacks like using this to create new technosocial situation (it's the other way around: when the output is totally the opposite of what would fit).