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Emotion-tracking rings to assist in distance learning

Darren Murph
January 7, 2007
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Let's face it, not all of us will have the luxury of attending a school where we get to construct massive LEGO machines or learn how to become savvy in SMS, but a developing technology that tracks student emotions could help tutors and distance instructors alike in keeping kids focused while learning. Co-developed by Essex University's Vic Callaghan and Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Liping Shen, the emotion-tracking tutoring software can analyze physical signs to keep track of a student's attention span, their level of understanding, and even the amount of stress a certain lesson produces. Aimed to help tutors become more effective and to add another layer of "personal" to distance-based education courses, the software would receive information about a student's "heart rate, blood pressure and changes in electrical resistance caused by perspiration" via a sensor-laden, Bluetooth-enabled ring worn on one's finger. The information can then be assessed to determine a student's interest level and frustration level, but a decibel meter to measure snoring isn't likely to be included. If all goes as planned, the team intends on testing the system out in "real learning scenarios in China" to further tweak their creation, so it won't be too long now before an interest-tracking ring will become as necessary as pencil and paper a stylus and a tablet PC come class time.

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