Japanese researchers developed a new wearable camera system that detects emotions by monitoring and analyzing the users brainwaves and using them to record emotional moments creating a virtual memory album.
The idea of a device that can record a user events through the day isn’t new. Microsoft’s researchers Gordon Bell created his own version of this concept as part of his MyLifeBits project over a decade ago. Bell used a simple camera he wore around his neck to record images – since then the technology advanced considerably. With Google Glass project coming soon, the idea of a camera you can wear with you anywhere which can record live HD video for long periods of time becomes a reality.
However recording hours of video of your life doesn’t just require large storage space, it also makes for a very complicated problem of managing this data and finding the more interesting bits in the virtual “sea” of boring moments (be honest – who wants to relive hours of standing in traffic, washing dishes and doing boring paperwork?).
Here comes the neurocam system to the rescue – to some extent at least. The system, developed by the Tokyo Neurowear team, is based on Neurosky’s Mind Wave Mobile and a new customized brainwave sensor with the newest BMD chip as well as a a smartphone with a camera which faces forward (see video). The smartphone is not only used as a camera but also as a processing unit analyzing the user’s brainwaves and recording specific moments.
The development team created an algorithm based on the levels of “interest” of the user. The team created a scale of 0 to 100 and when the value reaches a pre defined level the smartphone camera is automatically records and saves a short 5 second GIF video. The video is saved along with a timestamp and GPS location.
Although the current prototype still looks primitive the concept itself seems very promising. Being able to record only memorable moments can be a great way to overcome the problem of looking at endless videos to find a single moment. Of course there are limitations to this concept. The main problem we see here is that not everything which seems interesting or emotionally triggering at the time is actually that interesting, but much more problematic – there are a lot of things which might not be interesting at the time which turn out to be important later on. If you want this system to become your smart event memory assistant keep looking (although we can certainly see a similar concept as an accessory for the Google Glass in the future).
You can find more information about neurocam on the project page on the neurowear website.