MIT gizmo peeps at your heart's desires with wireless signals

Researchers with the famed tech school's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab might not know what you're thinking, but they know how you feel about it.

​From left: Ph.D. students Fadel Adib and Mingmin Zhao and Professor Dina Katabi, of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, do their emoji impression.

From left: Ph.D. students Fadel Adib and Mingmin Zhao and Professor Dina Katabi, of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, do their emoji impression.

Jason Dorfman/MIT CSAIL


A gadget that could read your emotions from a distance? How would that make you feel? Someday, we might not have to wait for your answer.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab say they've created a device that can tell if you're happy, sad or angry simply by bouncing wireless signals off your body.

The experimental gadget, known as EQ-Radio (PDF), collects the signals and analyzes variations in heartbeat and breathing to figure out what's going on behind that poker face of yours.

"Just by generally knowing what human heartbeats look like in different emotional states, we can look at a random person's heartbeat and reliably detect their emotions," MIT Ph.D. student Mingmin Zhao said in a statement Tuesday.

How reliably? The researchers say the gizmo is correct 87 percent of the time.

The team envisions various uses for EQ-Radio. For instance, film companies and ad agencies could use it to gauge viewer response. A smart home could use it to tweak lighting and temperature to your mood. It might even lead to devices for diagnosing and monitoring anxiety and depression.

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