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EmoWatch - The Apple Watch App That Knows if You're Happy or Sad

Do me a favour, imagine it's 15, or even 10 years ago before you get to the next sentence. Ready? Good. There is now a way for your watch to figure out how you're feeling when you talk to it. What a strange world we live in. Despite what Apple might show in their advertising, I've yet to meet anyone who actually uses Siri on a day-to-day basis, or even for anything beyond the occasional attempt to prompt a humorous response, "Open the pod bay doors, Hal" and so forth.

Despite this, Apple's strategy (mirrored by other smartphone/watch companies) seems to be to keep pushing it and hope that eventually it really does become commonplace. At the very least, many app developers seem to be on their side, as they continue to roll out fancy new voice-controlled technology, with the latest being Tokyo-based Smartmedical's offering - EmoWatch.

It might sound like a wrist-mounted time telling device which has a predominantly black motif, is adorned with chains and studs and constantly plays 'Shut Me Up' by Mindless Self Indulgence, but in fact it's an Apple Watch app which can supposedly tell how you're feeling purely from the way you speak to it.

This technology isn't new, in general terms, but this is the first time it's been applied to a smartwatch, the specific iteration that EmoWatch employs is rather unimaginatively called Empath, and it uses pitch, tone of voice, volume and even speed. Through these parameters, it can ostensibly figure out how angry, calm, happy or sad you are, although the official terms it uses for the latter two are "joyful" and "sorrow", just in case you forgot that this app was developed in Japan.

The benefit? Well, it doesn't just listen to what you're saying and then say "you seem angry today". Rather, it tracks the way your mood changes over time, keeping you informed about shifts in your emotional patterns. Supposedly, this could be applicable to just about any language, since it gauges tone rather than wording, but it's worth bearing in mind that some subtle tone shifts mean very different things across borders, particularly when you jump from Germanic and Latinate languages to ones like Mandarin and Cantonese, where tone and inflection are as, if not more important than spelling.

Most interestingly, the Empath API is now openly available to developers, meaning that there could be any number of emotion-tracking apps on the market soon, with a wider range of uses. This is one of those things that is hard to judge in terms of pros and cons until it's had a bit more time to develop, but there are certainly people out there who could greatly benefit from seeing how their mood is changing from day t day.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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EmoWatch - The Apple Watch App That Knows if You're Happy or Sad Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, April 14, 2016 Rating: 5

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