New Facial Program for Socially Awkward

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Photo Courtesy of MIT

Do you find it difficult to adjust to a new environment with new people? Is it hard to strike up a conversation?

If the answer is yes, then MIT Researchers might be able to help you with their new creation, My Automated Conversation Coach (MACH), which uses a computer generated face to  simulate real conversations and match real people’s facial expressions and speech patterns.

So how can this help the socially awkward?

The program tracks certain utterances such as “Mmm”, “Uhh”, “Basically” etc. and offers positive feedback to the user.

M. Eshan Hoque, the chief researcher, commented,It smiles when you smile.  It gives you the feeling, ‘Hey, this software is listening to me’.

Mail Online goes points out that the MACH uses a standard web-camera that scans the facial expressions of the users, listens to their patterns of speech and looks for physical clues as to the level of engagement.

The idea of MACH came out o f an Asperger’s Association workshop where Hoque was approached to develop a program to help sufferers with a technological solution.

In a technical university – where people are really, really technical – it’s possible that many people would have social difficulty, said Hoque.

This could also prove beneficial for a variety of other needs from dating to public speaking  to customer services positions.

Would you use this program ?

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