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Brief Published: 5 Jul 2013

Mood Phone


Microsoft Research, the research arm of the US tech giant, has developed new smartphone technology that can sense a user’s mood. The new software package could pave the way for a new generation of intuitive mobile devices and mood-aware applications.

Moodscope analyses communication history, app usage patterns and other contextual clues to measure the mental state of users. A preliminary study was able to detect a user’s mood with an initial accuracy of 66%. This rose to 93% following a two-month personalised training period with an individual user.

The software has the potential to improve existing mobile applications by improving the accuracy of recommendation services such as Netflix, or adding another layer of information to social networking sites. “These moods would enhance social networks by allowing users to share mood states automatically,” the researchers wrote in a paper published last month. “Mood sensing can enable users to digitally communicate closer to the way they would in real life.”

The Microsoft researchers describe mood detection as a “vital next step for application context awareness.” In the past few months, a host of mood-detection devices have emerged – such as the Mico headphones by Japanese organisation Neurowear. Look out for our upcoming Macro Trend Agile Futures for more examples of intuitive technology.

Moodscope also has implications for advertisers. Accurate mood detection could yield substantial rewards, allowing marketers to target consumers with highly relevant products and services. However, privacy concerns remain – take a look at Big Data and the New Privacy for more on how to negotiate this issue.

Microsoft Research