CES 2013: Emotion is the Future of Content Discovery

The future of content recommendation and even of editing movies could be at the tip of your finger. Technicolor is demonstrating an R&D project that detects a viewer’s emotional response to content by way of a small sensor worn against the skin of the hand. Biometric data, including heartbeat and temperature, helps measure viewer response.

The resulting data could be aggregated from focus groups to provide studios with information to better target feature releases to demographics such as male or female, age groups or even by territory.

It could also be used in the editing process, by highlighting the emotional response of viewers to particular scenes; and it could be used downstream as the basis of a recommendation engine for content and advertising based on the viewer’s mood.

In the latter scenario, Technicolor imagines home users simply placing their finger on a sensor embedded in the TV set which reads their mood and suggests relevant content for that moment — such as up tempo drama or low-key documentaries.

It is an industry-first and recently tested live in Europe and the U.S. with studios, according to Technicolor.

“This is the future of recommendation,” explained Philippe Guillotel, who is intriguingly titled Distinguished Scientist for Video Perception, Processing & Coding Lab Manager, Research & Innovation. “We are detecting your emotions from biological signals — it’s the same principal as lie detectors. Then we compute an emotional profile.

“Maybe in ten years there will be sensor on your TV set which will propose directly relevant content to you according to your emotional state.”

He added: “Studios are interested in the principal of the system for proposing the right content to the right person and to pre-test releases. There is a huge potential in knowing the way people react and since it is a biological response, you cannot lie.”