COL:M. Ehsan Hoque, MIT

Event Type: 
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 14:30

M. Ehsan Hoque, MIT


So you think someone is happy because s/he is smiling? In my research, I demonstrate that most people are unable to differentiate the smiles elicited under frustrated and delighted stimuli. What makes it so difficult? Through a series of studies, I have demonstrated that we could build algorithms that can automatically predict the underlying meaning behind smiles, in some cases, better than humans.

Along with nonverbal behavior understanding, can we design technology that could have direct impact on people and their lives? For my PhD dissertation, I have built a system, MACH-My Automated Conversation coacH, for people to practice their social interactions in face to face scenarios. MACH consists of a 3D character that can "see, "hear and make its own "decisions in real time. 90 MIT undergraduate students interacted with MACH for 3 months in the context of job interviews. Students who interacted with MACH demonstrated significant performance improvement compared to the students in the control group. Empirical data from this effort could open up new possibilities in behavioral health (e.g., treating people with asperger syndrome, social phobia, PTSD) as well as designing new interaction paradigms in human-computer interaction and robotics.


Short Bio:


M. Ehsan Hoque is a PhD candidate at the Affective Computing Group of the MIT Media Lab. Ehsan's work on nonverbal behavior understanding and recognition has been published in IEEE/ACM Journals, received best paper nominations in Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) and Face and Gesture (FG) conferences, and appeared in popular press including Time Magazine, MIT Technology Review, PBS, among many. Some of his research prototypes (e.g., Disney animatronics, MIT Mood Meter) have been deployed in Disney Parks, and at several public places of MIT, allowing open interaction with thousands of people and data collection for an extended period.


Ehsan has industrial R&D experience at Goldman Sachs, Walt Disney Imagineering and IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, and was the recipient of IEEE Gold Humanitarian Fellowship in 2009 for his work on Autism intervention.

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