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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Playlist keeps in tune with your moods

Mind-reading program that recommends music among others on show at Techfest
The Straits Times - August 21, 2012
By: Janice Heng
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Playlist keeps in tune with your moods A researcher demonstrating a program that reads brainwaves and picks the appropriate music for your mood. The Institute for Infocomm Research is working with a medical school to see if it can be used to treat depression. -- PHOTOS: INSTITUTE FOR INFOCOMM

FROM a mind-reading program that recommends music, to an app that tells you where to find a taxi, 26 technologies were on show at Fusionopolis, as part of Techfest 2012, last week.

The two-day exhibition is the Institute for Infocomm Research's flagship annual event.

The institute, which is part of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, develops technologies which companies can license and develop further for their own purposes.

One project that may soon gain a life outside the lab is a program that reads your emotional state and picks appropriate music.

Brainwaves indicate how someone is responding to a song: for instance, whether they like it or it calms them. Based on that, the program can skip songs that are disliked, and play those that are musically similar to your "likes".

Apart from building perfect playlists, the technology could also be used in music therapy.

The institute is working with a medical school to see if it can be used to treat depression in elderly patients.

A few projects from each Techfest are eventually commercialised, said the institute.

One featured project is a Wi-Fi chipset that allows data to be transferred at much higher speeds: For instance, a movie file could be moved from a computer to a mobile phone in under one minute, compared to the five to 10 minutes it usually takes now.

Another project tracks taxis - both occupied and empty - across the island. A mobile app shows which MRT stations have more available taxis nearby, so commuters can decide where to alight to flag a cab.

But as with most of the projects on show, it will not be publicly available unless a company comes forward.

Interactive exhibits included a teddy bear that recognises and responds to facial expressions and sounds such as laughter, and purrs when stroked; and a program that converts spoken text into a sung melody, helping even the worst singer keep a tune.


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