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Monday, February 25, 2013

This Nurturing App Will Call Your Therapist If It Thinks You're too Depressed

Posted By on Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 8:40 AM

click to enlarge There's an app for that, kid
  • There's an app for that, kid

Just when you thought you'd gotten away from your mother, some techies over in the U.K. invented a app that'll record your every mood.

This new app, dubbed Xpression, is supposed to help depressed people (aka Americans) monitor their sadness; As Gizmodo reports, the clever app listens to a user's voice, catalogs moods, and even dials up a doctor if it notes any dangerous dips in your day.

See Also: Facebook Depression Is Real

We know what you're thinking -- what about privacy? The smart folks over at EI Technologies explains how this app will help, not hurt:

To work, the app has to be always on, listening out for the user's voice once every second, whether they are talking to family, friends, colleagues or even pets. It also listens in on phone calls. If the user is silent, the app does nothing. Crucially for the users' privacy, it doesn't record their words, instead seeking out telltale acoustic features -- like pitch -- that are indicative of emotional state.

Xpression will then send 200-millisecond-long acoustic snapshots to a remote server where a machine-learning system will work out a person's emotional state before sending it back to the app for storage. Factors like voice loudness, intensity, changes in pitch, and speaking pace allow the system to accurately estimate a person's emotional state, New Scientist reports.

Xpression is still in the development stages, and clinical trials are set to take place later this year. But an insurance company has already expressed an interest in using the app to ensure the workplace stress therapy it pays for is effective.

Finally, an app that will hook you up with more Valium!

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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