Teradata To Develop ¡¥E-Motional¡¦ Machines

Published: Thu 4 Apr 2002 04:40 PM
Teradata Joins Forces With USC To Develop ¡¥E-Motional¡¦ Machines
Despite modern technology, old fashioned emotions speak loudest of all
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND ¡V If you have ever been frustrated talking to machines that don¡¦t respond, then you will be pleased to know that high-tech, e-motional systems with a human touch may soon be around. They may not be able to talk to you. But they will definitely respond ¡V and spontaneously.
Groundbreaking research is now underway between Teradata, a division of NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR), and the University of Southern California (USC) to explore important and useful ways machines can store, interpret and use human emotions. Uses for e-motional or non-verbal communication may range from improved customer service to medical diagnostic tools.
Engineering students and experts inside USC¡¦s Integrated Media System Department have trail-blazed complex emotional mapping techniques that will enable the capture, storage and analysis of information based on your facial expression.
¡§We call these ¡§smart¡¨ systems. The idea is to capture the face, annotate it with dots and regions, so we can then process and match it with our database against a catalogue of emotions and have the system react the way a good salesperson might,¡¨ said Dave Schraeder, technical expert at Teradata.
For example, when an ATM user squints in front of the machine because he can¡¦t see the small print, the smart system will capture the facial expression, send information to the ATM and the machine will automatically enlarge the print and solve the customer¡¦s problem. The machine will be able to interpret and remember the information that¡¦s all over the consumer¡¦s face.
¡§It¡¦s just more convenient and faster. When you come up to an ATM, it will remember who you are and what you want,¡¨ said Schraeder.
Faster, better service is one reason to fine-tune this technology. Health is another.
Smart machines may one day help diagnose and treat patients with a range of emotional or medical problems. E-motional mapping is experimental, but for USC Clinical Psychologist Dr Skip Rizzo, the potential of non-verbal communication speaks volumes.
For example, in a case where a person in a remote area is receiving therapy over the Internet, by examining and interpreting facial expressions, this technology might pick up on something that the therapist has missed.
¡§We still have a long way to go with this, but I believe that by tracking facial expressions it gives us added information that the therapist could use to get better insight into the patient,¡¨ said Dr Rizzo.
Privacy is a big concern for the public, but this information is secure and confidential being stored in an arsenal of sophisticated Teradata warehouses. Just because machines know what you like or don¡¦t like doesn¡¦t mean everyone else will.
¡§Any kind of business that would use this technology would keep this information private, just like they would any of your other records that they might have,¡¨ said Schraeder of Teradata.
Humanising the experience is an inevitable part of the landscape, however even if pictures speak a thousand words, high-tech machines with feelings are still at least three to five years off from entering the marketplace.
For more information please go to
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About Teradata Division
Teradata, a division of NCR Corporation, offers powerful analytical solutions that help businesses drive growth. Teradata solutions include the Teradata database, and analytical applications for customer relationship management, operations and financial management, business performance management and e-business. To learn more about Teradata Division and its solutions, go to
About NCR Corporation
NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a leader in providing Relationship Technology„§ solutions to customers worldwide in the retail, financial, communications, manufacturing, travel and transportation, and insurance markets. NCR¡¦s Relationship Technology solutions include privacy-enabled Teradata„¥ warehouses and customer relationship management (CRM) applications, store automation and automated teller machines (ATMs). The company¡¦s business solutions are built on the foundation of its long-established industry knowledge and consulting expertise, value-adding software, global customer support services, a complete line of consumable and media products, and leading edge hardware technology. NCR employs 31,400 in more than 100 countries, and is a component stock of the Standard & Poor¡¦s 500 Index. More information about NCR and its solutions may be found at
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NCR and Teradata are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCR Corporation in the United States and other countries.

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