Curtin student teaching robots to read emotions

Jordan Vice travelled to Los Angeles last month to present at the The First IEEE International Conference on Cognitive Machine Intelligence.
Jordan Vice travelled to Los Angeles last month to present at the The First IEEE International Conference on Cognitive Machine Intelligence.

A ROBOTICS whiz who spent the past year creating an artificial intelligence system capable of reading people’s emotions has presented his work at an American machine conference.

Beeliar resident Jordan Vice travelled to Los Angeles last month to present at the The First IEEE International Conference on Cognitive Machine Intelligence.

He spent the last year working on his mechatronic engineering thesis at Curtin University, which involved developing an artificial intelligence system capable of reading people’s emotions.

Mr Vice said the system absorbed three input channels which assessed emotional reactions by monitoring real-time video footage.

“It works by analysing emotions scanned from your facial expressions. When you express emotions through speech, it’s represented through two vocal channels: how you’re saying something and what is actually being said,” he said.

“The system analyses all three of these channels and gets the results for each one of them, as well as the result for the combination of all three.”

Mr Vice’s algorithm is multi-disciplinary and was developed with health authorities and security agencies in mind.

“It was aimed towards emotional therapy, the tool I wanted to develop was a vlogging tool that a therapist could look in the back end and analyse trends,” he said.

“In terms of threat detection – border security, police force interrogations – you can analyse aggression in a person.

The former Emmanuel Catholic College head boy said he had been fascinated by robotics for some time and his interest had been piqued by Iron Man, which led him to study mechatronic engineering.

He chose to focus on emotional learning and analysis for his thesis due to his desire to explore its multiple applications.

“Emotional analysis is something that’s new, emotional AI is a growing topic in this space,” he said.

“A lot of things we do are emotionally pushed as human beings, this was a way of trying to getting a machine to understand how humans behave emotionally.”

Mr Vice admitted he was nervous about presenting alongside so many industry experts in Los Angeles, but said all went well in the end and he felt he gave a good account of himself.

“In order for your paper to be published as part of the conference, you needed to have the authors present. With myself as the lead author, I didn’t want anybody else to present my work.”

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