NEWS29 January 2013

Sensum pilots wearable emotional response platform

Technology UK

UK — Technology start-up Sensum have unveiled a new emotional response platform that measures tiny changes in viewers’ sweat levels to gauge an audience’s engagement with entertainment offerings such as the HBO series Game of Thrones.

The Belfast-based company says that its innovative mobile technology aims to give researchers a more in-depth view of audience engagement, whilst protecting viewers’ anonymity. The Sensum platform measures audience members’ sweat levels using galvanic skin response (GSR) sensors, worn on the fingers, paired with smartphones or tablets which have the Sensum app installed.

The data is uploaded to a cloud-based dashboard, where a visualisation shows the points at which the audience’s attention peaked or dropped off. This can then be further analysed using gamification techniques. For example, a viewer’s physiological response to a piece of entertainment could unlock tailored, bonus content for them.

The technology was recenly tested on fans, cast and crew of Game of Thrones to test their reactions to key footage from the show and Grammy-award winning musician Imogen Heap also tried out the platform on reactions to her latest music video during Belfast Music Week. Both trials helped producers understand emotional attachment to key characters, scenes and so on, according to Sensum. Channel 4 have also described Sensum as “the most futuristic demo.”

Gawain Morrison, co-creator of the Sensum platform, said: “We are entering a new age of natural human computer interfacing and this kind of technology can give entertainment industries a better understanding of audience habits at a time when we are all seeking deeper levels of engagement. Sensors for capturing a range of physiology responses are becoming more widespread; we’ve opted for GSR due to its portability and anonymity for users.”