Using tiny sensors, transmitters and some software, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have turned personal computers into advanced polygraph machines that they say are capable of monitoring people’s emotions and abilities.
Here’s how it would work: You’re in a meeting, and each person in attendance is hooked up to a computer that’s monitoring their perspiration and heartbeat, reading their facial expressions and head motions, analyzing their voice tones and then presenting them with a running account of how they are feeling. This information will also be transmitted to everyone else in the meeting.
Talking too much? A pop-up window appears on the screen to tell you to shut up. Feeling edgy? A message reminds you to calm down. Got a big account or project to assign? Scan the feed to see which employee is feeling the perkiest that morning.
The idea, according to Peter Merkle, who heads the Mentor/PAL program at Sandia, is to develop ways to understand and improve human performance, particularly in military or other high-risk situations.