Prof. Rosalind Picard

Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Title: Adventures (and Surprises) in Affective Computing

What happens when an electrical engineer and computer scientist, who does not want to have anything to do with emotion, winds up learning it could improve the future of AI?  Join me in a series of fun stories ranging from trying to help people manage stress, to learning surprising new facts about “truly happy” smiles, to inventing new wearable sensors that try to measure emotion (and wind up as Sheldon’s Emotion Sensor on Big Bang Theory), to accidental discoveries that are now saving lives.  Today our sensors and machine learning algorithms are used in epilepsy, stress, sleep, mood, autism, migraine, and other studies.  What is the big challenge we aim to solve next?


Rosalind Picard, ScD, FIEEE is founder and director of the Affective Computing Research Group at the MIT Media Laboratory, co-founder of Affectiva, providing facial-emotion reading technology used by 1/3 of the Global Fortune 100 (also with an SDK for researchers), and co-founder and Chief Scientist of Empatica, improving lives with clinical-quality wearable sensors and analytics.  Picard is the author of over 250 articles in computer vision, pattern recognition, machine learning, signal processing, affective computing, and human-computer interaction, with a recent emphasis on health.  She is known internationally for her book, Affective Computing, which helped launch the field by that name. Picard holds bachelors in Electrical Engineering (EE) from Georgia Tech and Masters and Doctorate degrees in EE and CS from MIT. Picard’s inventions have been twice named to “top ten” lists, including the New York Times Magazine’s Best Ideas of 2006 for the Social Cue Reader, and 2011’s Popular Science Top Ten Inventions for a Mirror that Monitors Vital Signs. CNN named her in 2015 one of seven “Tech Superheroes to Watch.” Picard’s lab at MIT develops technologies to better understand, predict, communicate, and regulate emotion, with applications targeting autism, epilepsy, depression/anxiety, chronic pain, and the improvement of overall well-being.