SCEA Experimenting With “Laugh Detecting”, Emotion Tracking Software

By Spencer . August 14, 2009 . 9:50am


Laughter… as a “controller”? It sounds funny on paper, but Sony Computer Entertainment America seems serious about the concept considering they filed a patent for a laugh detecting program.


The application picks up on metadata, which includes laughter recorded by the microphone and a user’s expression from the camera. Both devices are linked to a “game console”, shown as a PlayStation 3 in the diagram, which identifies the user, notes emotions, and transfers the data over a network.


How will Sony identify emotions? The patent mentions identifying body gestures and tracking group interactions “such as when two individuals give each other a ‘High Five.'” Sony also developed smile detecting software for their Cyber Shot W120 camera which could be used too.


While the patent focuses on laugher it can identify other emotions such as sadness, excitement, anger, joy, interest, and boredom. For example, boredom may be detected if a user is “looking away from the presentation, yawning, or talking over the presentation.”



Here’s an example set of data and a flow chart depicting how the system works.


The software isn’t limited to video games. It can also be used for TV shows, films, and other media presentations, but we’ll drop those for now.


What do you think of a game that can read your emotions? Perhaps, an RPG that changes its story or the way the characters interact based on how you react.

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  • Well sure, if I’m playing something competitively and I think something cheap just occured, I’d love to see an avatar of mine get all rrrrrRRRRAAAAAEEEEEEEEGGGGGGG!

    I see fighting games benefit from it…because I have a feeling the opponent would be ‘amused’ in response.

  • So, if I can’t beat a boss after the seventy-gazillionth time, the boss will eventually cower away after it senses me rambling like a madman? That would be useful.

    I’m pretty stoic while playing games, but this could move games in an interesting direction. Hopefully, it’ll be stable unlike the speech recognition used for Lifeline.

  • Daszeuzo

    Sony creating a laughter detection device

    this joke writes itself so easily that UK Resistance could make it their last update ever

  • Those patent pictures are always so funny.

    • Serge73

      Yeah, especially the contraption that the man is watching on the TV, haha

  • lostinblue

    they should bundle this idea with that horse seat Nintendo just patented.

  • Haha, that has to be the best patent drawing I have ever seen! XD

  • VinLAURiA

    The picture on the TV is pretty funny, but overall something to “identify emotions” to identify what triggers each emotion scares me a little.

    With all that data collected, developers could just put in elements that have been proven to trigger a certain emotion and they’ll never need to exert any effort again and there will never be anything original or made with actual care anymore.

  • mgal

    well no one can predict what will sony do next….

  • cepee

    Generally (technologically) I find it thrilling and definitely it has great potential to make games more real.
    But also theres a big potential for game makers to hook people even better to that game. Those games could become a real drug then (“give me that feeling only you can give me”) you know what I mean?

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