• By Sin Mei C
  • May 2, 2014

Week in Context – Mood-sensing technology and a predictive user experience for the connected car

No more ‘static’ but mood-aware stories, a consumer survey on SoLoMo & personalisation, building trust and the connected ‘concierge’ cars of the future.

This Week in Context

Your Weekly Update on All Things Context, May 2 2014


Opinion & Vision

Mood-aware and reactive media is the topic of ‘Perils and pleasures of mood-sensing technology’. Composer and film-maker Alexis Kirke has a look at what happens when we link films and music to devices that capture changes in our emotions. She covers the BBC’s Perceptive Radio – which gauges your attention levels using sound, light and proximity sensors, automated composition algorithms that generate music aimed at eliciting a specific emotional response, and film narratives that change depending on a person’s biofeedback.

Co.create writes about Xpression, an app that automatically records basic emotions (angry, happy, sad) throughout the day based on changes in the acoustic features of your voice. “We are the heart rate monitor of mood,” EI Technologies’ founder told co.create. I’d love to give this a try. Yet, for really gauging someone’s mood, more than just voice or text analysis is needed. You need to know about a person’s behaviour, and detect when it changes. The moments we do not communicate are often more telling about how we feel, than those when we’re all bubbly.

But no worries, it is still possible to hide some things from the Internet. Although it’s not an easy feat, as this assistant professor of sociology found out. She went to great lengths to hide the fact that she was pregnant (information much valued by marketeers) It worked, but her ruses set off some other real life triggers.


“If one of the benefits of exercise is to improve our sense of well-being, then all fitness tech companies should not only incorporate mood trackers into their products, but create innovative ones that will guide their users toward better self-understanding.”
– Catherine Shu (@catherineshu)
Every Fitness App And Wearable Should Have a Mood Tracker, Techcrunch

Marco De Ruiter (@macro76) pointed out this interesting article, for which thanks! You can submit news to be featured in the Week in Context too at ann@sentiance.com.

Papers, Research & Patents

  • A Game to Crowdsource Data for Affective Computing (demo paper)
  • Intelligent Remote Control for TV Program based on Emotion in Arabic Speech (paper)
  • The Importance of Cognition and Affect for Artificially Intelligent Decision Makers (paper)
  • Smartphone-Based Solutions for Fall Detection and Prevention: Challenges and Open Issues (paper)
  • The Right Colours Make Data Easier To Read (article)

The World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report has a look at the ‘readiness’ of countries for the future of Big Data, and features some great essays on the topic, one of which – Building Trust – was covered on the Argus Labs blog.

IBM published ‘Great Expectations – Consumers are asking for tomorrow, today’. I’ve summarised the take-aways on ‘SoLoMo’ and personalisation for you.

The White House has published the findings of the Big Data and Privacy Working Group Review, which highlights both the many opportunities as some of the possible drawbacks, especially “the potential for big data analytics to lead to discriminatory outcomes and to circumvent longstanding civil rights protections in housing, employment, credit, and the consumer marketplace.”

If you’re up for some light study yourself, Coursera announced new sessions for both the Maps and the Geospational Revolution (started April 30th) and the Metadata: Organizing and Discovering Information courses (July 14th). 

Hardware & Software News

Nike has added fuel to the rumours that the company’s Fuelband software could end up in the Apple iWatch, or iBand. As Mashable reports, Nike has recently laid off most of its Fuelband hardware team, and now CEO Mark Parker said they’ll be focusing more on the software side of the experience.

Meanwhile, Samsung announced it’s $1,250,000 Samsung Gear App Challenge will start May 8th.

MIT shows off Shoe Central; a prototype of vibrating supershoes that tell you where to walk, and that learn your patterns over time. They’ll even tickle your toes when it wants to recommend walks you might like or nearby locations you might enjoy. UK size 7, please!

LeapFrog is debuting its first wearable health-tracker for kids. It is designed for children ages 4 to 7, and gamifies fitness for kids by gives commands like “wiggle like a worm”, or “pop like popcorn”, and rewarding the kids with virtual pets and points.

Foursquare is splitting up its app in two. On the one hand, you’ll have Swarm – a social heatmap app that allows you to find friends nearby and check in. On the other hand, there will be a totally new Foursquare focussing on exploration and discovery, launching in a month or so. Foursquare feels their passive location-guessing engine ‘Pilgrim’ is robust enough to know what type of places you frequent, and to make recommendations based on that.

Facebook is allowing for users to control more accurately which information to pass on to third party apps when using their ‘social login’, and even added an anonymous login.

The Robert Scoble (@scobleizer) has interviewed Johann Jungwirth of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development, North America on connected cars, a predictive user experience, and recognising passengers and their habits. Basically, on using context-awareness to turn your car into the family’s friend & concierge.

(Fancy this? You want to also read this article by Steffan Hear on Daimler’s Technicity blog with some extra information, including mention of moods – relaxed, tired, stressed.)

Noteworthy Events for April & May

NEXT Berlin 2014, Berlin – May 5-6
We’re the only Belgian – BeNeLux even – company on NEXT’s Start Up Stage, where pitching is moderated by @Nero and @coletteballou. Meet up with Argus Labs at NEXT, let us know at @arguslabs !

Big Data Week Wallon – May 5-11
For the first time there’s a Belgian event calendar for Big Data Week, organised by the archives centre Mundaneum. Find the full schedule – including hackathons, exhibitions, .. – here.

SmarterCommerce Summit, Tampa – May 12-15
Organised by IBM, the SmarterCommerce conference covers the latest trends and best practices in B2B, customer experience management, enterprise marketing and customer analytics.

15may.be – May 15
Idealabs has 2 years of entrepreneurship to celebrate, and some big news to reveal. They’ve invited Argus Labs our founder (@sentiance) to be part of their panel on the Belgian Startup ecosystem.

Beyond Fusion, San Francisco – June 23
This one day event organised by movea explores ‘the future of context awareness, focusing on mobility scenarios’.

Argus in the News

Argus Labs raises $1.5 Million to bring Emotional Context to Mobile AdTech by Liam Boogar for Rude Baguette.

Enjoy the weekend!



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