Affectiva’s new sensor could broadcast your mood to the web

The latest version of Affectiva’s mood-sensing wristband combines its sensor with Bluetooth wireless capability so the device can broadcast your emotions to a monitor or web site. Granted, the $2,000 sensor is used primarily in research and certain medical situations, but the Q Sensor 2.0’s promise is not only limited to psychologists monitoring their patients during sessions or creating more accurate focus groups. Affectiva’s sensors and software are an attempt to help machines read human emotions.

We covered the company back in July when it got $5.7 million, but the company on Thursday announced the second version of its sensor product with the Bluetooth capability. It also develops software used to measure human facial expressions so computers can determine how people feel. With both software and sensors the company is trying to help machines, marketers and scientists understand people. Back in July Affectiva CEO Dan Dave Berman described it like this:

…companies have gone from measuring presence and location and are now looking to understand how people are feeling. He said when done in the right way, with clear opt-in and transparency, people like to share their feelings. He said while Affdex [the software product] is initially being used as a marketing tool, he sees a bright future in social networking and online gaming.

The sensor, which is worn on the wrist, measures electrodermal activity, an electrical change in the skin that varies with activation of the sympathetic nervous system. It also tracks movement and temperature to figure out how a subject is feeling. Adding Bluetooth to the sensor means it becomes less obtrusive for research subjects and becomes more practical for use in everyday life. Practical for what? It’s not clear. A Stanford University team led by Byron Reeves, a professor in the communications department is using the Q Sensor 2.0 to prototype responsive games that offer new challenges to keep people engaged.

Or maybe Twitter and Facebook updates aren’t instantaneous or honest enough for you. The sensor and software could enable you to tweet your feelings to your networks. Perhaps you have a lot of money and interest in some pretty cutting edge technology… if so perhaps the latest version of Affectva’s Q Sensor is for you or a loved one. I know that the current crop of sleep and calorie tracking devices is just the cutting edge for the quantified self, so Affectiva’s product doesn’t strike me as too out there. Where would you like to see something like this?