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Brief Published: 13 Mar 2013

Xpression Voice-Monitoring App


New smartphone app Xpression by UK-based Emotional Intelligence (EI) Technologies tracks the tone, intensity and volume of the user’s voice to identify whether they are happy, sad, angry frightened or calm. Though initially being used by healthcare providers and patients dealing with behavioural or mental-health issues (like depression or anxiety), the app could become available to the public as early as the end of the year.

Once open, the Xpression app runs constantly, checking for the user’s voice once every second and recording as little as 200 milliseconds of sound. Similar to a mood diary (but more accurate as it functions independently of the patient), Xpression logs patients’ daily verbal interactions, categorises them, creates a mood log and relays it in an email to the user’s doctor at the end of the day. The physician can review the data and tailor treatment based on the patient’s behavioural patterns and incidents of aggravation.

The Xpression app is the latest indication that self-tracking – using technology to record personal metrics – is moving beyond the immediate markets of exercise and weight loss to target more complex areas of consumers’ lives.

EI Technologies co-founder Matt Dobson told US news channel CNN that the interest in mood-monitoring apps in particular is growing. "Over half of adults in the UK suffer from severe stress once or twice a week,” Dobson said, adding “there’s a lot of opportunity in the market” for apps that aim to help consumers identify their stress triggers. Similar services – such as Moodscope, a mood-tracking service designed for sufferers of mental illness – allows users to share their data with “buddies”, providing a real-world support network for the user.

Read more about the self-tracking phenomenon in The Datasexual.

EI Technologies