A Watch That Tells You When to Shhh...

Photo by Jason Dorfman.

Photo by Jason Dorfman.

Do you remember a time when you were meeting new people and talking too much? You were probably nervous and you ended up doing all of the talking. Talking too much happens to everyone. 

We all know we should actively listen to the people we meet by asking them open-ended and follow-up questions but sometimes we forget or we miss social cues. What if there was a way to know we were talking too much? 

Imagine having a GPS for social interactions right on your wrist. 

According to a Wired article, MIT Made a Wearable That Knows How a Conversation’s Going by Brian Barret, researchers at MIT are developing a watch that can measure how a conversation is going. This began with a study by MIT CSAIL researchers, Mohammad Ghassemi and Tuka Alhanai. 

The device takes an existing research-grade wearable—Samsung’s Simband smartwatch, which can measure movement, heart rate, blood pressure, blood flow, and skin temperature—and pairs it with audio capture that can pick up signals like tone, pitch, energy, and word choice, and provide a transcript of the text. By weighing all of the incoming signals, algorithms can classify each five-second installment of conversation as either “positive” or “negative.”

Let's fast forward to when this watch comes to market. Would you wear it?