A new gadget that lets you know you are boring somebody.

Can you imagine a gadget that tells you when someone is bored talking to you? Well MIT labs have come up with just such as device, which uses image recognition technology to read a person’s body language to see if they are paying attention.

I need this gadget. For instance I’ve often tried to explain to my wife the importance of installing the latest hardware drivers for a stable operating system. Sometimes I get the distinct impression that she’s not at all interested. Now with my “boredom-level” meter, I can be certain and if necessary steer the conversation to more engaging topics such as kitchen furniture and the latest celebrity gossip.

The device developed by MIT uses a camera mounted on a pair of glasses and image recognition software. The unit detects emotional responses in the person you are interacting with, by tracking movements of the eyebrows and lips, as well as motions of the head, such as nodding and shaking. When the person you are talking to is bored, a handheld unit vibrates to warn you that you’ve lost the attention of the person you are talking to.

Joking aside, the gadget has practical applications. Autistic people, for example, lack the ability to read clues from other people’s body language that would usually communicate that they were bored or irritated. The camera would help autisitic people to interact socially, by alerting them to the fact that they’d lost the person they were talking to, even though they would be unable to detect the body language signals themselves. Astonishing!

Found via New Scientist.