Any hang-ups? New phone app logs mood from voice
The application, named ‘Xpression’, will be able to monitor tiny
fluctuations in the tone of a user’s voice, attributing emotions to
what’s being said during both phone calls and day-to-day
conversations, as it remains on constantly.
‘Xpression’ is being targeted at the anxious, stressed or
depressed, in a greater attempt to understand triggering
situations. Frequently such patients are asked to keep a diary of
their day. However, the new application will eliminate the
Using voice pitch as the driving tool for the app comes as no
surprise since it was created by Matt Dobson and Duncan Barclay of
UK-based EI Technologies, who previously founded a speech
recognition firm. Methods of voice-pattern emotion
recognition are becoming a steadily popular area of research, and
this new one hopes to detect annoyance, fear, calmness or
The application sends the information via WiFi or 3G to a secure
cloud server. The cloud server would subsequently create a map of
the patient’s mood.
The analysis can then be sent back to the patient who would
reflect on the information and what they thought were the causes
for their mood changes throughout the day. Results can then be
later discussed with a therapist. Alternatively, it could also send
descriptive lists of the times an individual’s mood changed to the
psychologist at the end of the day.
As the application only measures tone of voice, rather than what
is being said, language will not be a barrier, according to Matt
Dobson, of EI Technologies.
The application could even play a role in the analysis and
treatment of illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. Further
clinical trials will be underway later in the year, and despite
‘Xpression’ not being launched with marketing in mind, many
see emotion recognition technology as a chance to provide more
The US Department of Defense currently has an application called
the T2 mood tracker which it updated earlier this month. It
assesses the mood and mental stability of US soldiers, specifically
after combat operations, and sends collected behavioral and
emotional data to healthcare providers, which review their changes.
However, it doesn’t use voice recognition.
Samsung has also been working on the development of a smart
phone that can detect an individual’s mood by the speed at which a
user types, how often backspace keys are pressed, or how much the