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UC selected for Samsung research

26 September 2014

UC one of eight universities in world selected for Samsung research

University of Canterbury research may shortly be helping elite sportspeople, adrenaline junkies and even nervous brides and grooms share their emotions during an event through a new form of wearable teleconferencing.

The University of Canterbury is among eight of the world’s top universities selected by Samsung’s elite Think Tank Team, to undertake interdisciplinary research in image capturing, display, sensing, energy, robotics and design. UC’s Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HIT Lab NZ) has been selected to research ways to create shared emotional experiences using wearable technology.

Samsung’s Think Tank Team (TTT) is a group of interdisciplinary experimenters, located in San Jose, that helps promote research that creates new ways of capturing, displaying, sensing, feeling, producing, and interaction. It focuses on the rapid exploration of technology, as well as risky forays into the frontier of what is possible, and funds external research.

The HIT Lab NZ director Professor Mark Billinghurst says the research aims to combine wearable technology with a wealth of research done on emotion recognition in a useable way.

“Wearable technologies like Google Glass mean that we’re capturing experiences more than ever before, and increasingly, in new and exciting ways. Our research aims to add another layer to that, by not only allowing people to see through your eyes, but also know what you’re feeling.

For example, imagine you’re going to do something like riding a roller coaster or bungy jumping and would love to share it with your elderly grandparents. Using our technology they could see your view while you’re riding the roller coaster and know what you’re feeling. Another example might be sharing your wedding with relatives and friends overseas who are unable to attend, or a beautiful concert, or other special event. There are many possible applications.

We’ve already got a Google-Glass prototype and the emotion recognition sensors working. We can use some physiological sensors that might measure levels of excitement, or fear or nervousness and share that with people as well. We are now working on joining the two together, and creating a powerful user experience.

There’s been a lot of research done to recognise people’s emotions but very little research about how we can use that research to share that emotion with someone else. What we’re looking at here is really a new type of communication experience.”

The UC team has been working on the research project for just over a month and will have a working prototype ready for testing by November.

The other universities selected by Samsung to undertake research are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Northeastern University, the University of Washington, the University of California, Berkeley, Tufts University, and the University of Tokyo.

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