Most wearables don’t make it out of the lab, but some do – and some go on to help save lives and make scientific discoveries. What helps them succeed? The stories in this talk started decades ago at MIT with an effort to measure emotion and aid the communication of people who have difficulty understanding emotion, especially many people on the autism spectrum. We designed and built novel wearables to “put the lab on the body” in order to collect real-world data, to which we applied machine learning (back when it was called “not AI”) to recognize the wearer’s state. We focused on interpreting faces and physiology, collecting natural social-emotional data, and found a series of surprises. For example, a couple of longstanding theories were wrong. We also found huge electrical signals at the wrist during seizures where the scalp EEG goes flat. This was a puzzle to solve: No brain activity, but we get a giant signal on the wrist, without a person. moving? This led to a series of new studies in neurology and psychiatry. We also developed a wristband, “Embrace” (commercialized by Empatica) that became the first FDA-cleared smartwatch to alert to potentially life-threatening seizures. Today there’s an entire FDA-cleared platform used in thousands of clinical studies collecting wearable data. This talk will share stories of several of the best lessons learned.
Rosalind Picard, Sc.D. is founder and director of the Affective Computing Research Group at the MIT Media Laboratory, co-founder and chief scientist of Empatica, Inc., providing the first FDA-cleared smart watch using AI in epilepsy and an FDA-cleared platform for clinical-quality wearable data and digital biomarkers, and co-founder of Affectiva, Inc. (now owned by Smart Eye, AB). Picard is author or co-author of hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific articles in signal processing, computer vision, pattern recognition, machine learning, human-computer interaction, affective computing, and neurology (h-index >115). She is known internationally for her book, Affective Computing, which helped launch the field by that name. She was a founding member of the IEEE Technical Committee on Wearable Information Systems, helping boot up research on wearable computing in the 90’s. Picard is a fellow of the IEEE, ACM, APA, and AAAC, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, and the ACM SIGCHI Academy, and is the 2022 recipient of the international Lombardia è Ricercia prize in Computer Science. Picard holds a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech and Masters and Doctorate degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. Picard leads research developing AI/machine learning algorithms, analytics, and sensors in order to improve human health and wellbeing.