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Rosalind Picard develops computational tools to help children with autism

Posted on April 29, 2016 at 8:50 PM

Understanding human emotional responses remains quite a challenge. Finding solution to this problem is the purview of a new field of research called computational behavioral science. Computational tools are now being developed that can help monitor human emotions by keeping track of the subtle fluctuations in electrical signals produced by perspiration through the skin.

(Dressed as Captain Picard for reunion with her former graduate students, October 2015.)

Rosalind Picard, founder and director of Affective Computing at MIT is developing wearable wrist sensors that can effectively measure human emotional responses to social situations. Her group mainly targets children with autism and other non-verbal learning disabilities to help them understand and communicate their emotions and to be better understood by others. Picard’s group also works to develop software that facilitates participatory learning. For example, they have developed an interactive and customizable animated platform called StoryScape that creates digital storybooks. It can be downloaded for free on Android devices. Read more here.

(Laser tag with her group at MIT.)

Professor Picard is also the co-director of the Media Lab’s Advancing Wellbeing Initiative MIT Media Lab and faculty chair of MIT’s Mind+Hand+Heart Initiative. She is credited with starting a branch of computer science known as affective computing. She has authored/co-authored over 200 articles and book chapters and has multiple patents on topics like machine learning, pattern recognition, and human-computer interaction. Her work has been recognized through awards including a ‘best theory paper’ prize for human learning (with Kort and Reilly, 2001), ‘best Face and Gesture paper’ prize for work with facial expressions (with McDuff, Kaliouby and Demirdjian, 2013) and ‘best UBICOMP paper’ for an automated conversation coach (with Hoque et al., 2013). CNN named her one of seven "Tech SuperHeroes to Watch in 2015."

 (Professor Picard having fun with her friend in Italy.)


(Rosalind with her husband and sons at her mother’s wedding, April 2015.)

- Written by Nakita Sengar, edited by Paulette Clancy

(Photo credit: Provided by and used with permission from Prof. Rosalind Picard).

Categories: WINnews

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1 Comment

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