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'wearable Eyes' Make You Appear Friendly, Social Even When You're Not

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Tsukuba University's Hirotaka Osawa wearing AgencyGlass.

The AgencyGlass wearable device produces views of "virtual eyes" intended to give the wearer a semblance of friendliness and approachability to those around him/her.

Credit: IEEE Spectrum

Tsukuba University's Hirotaka Osawa has created AgencyGlass, a wearable device that produces virtual eyes that naturally follow people and movement to give the wearer a semblance of friendliness and approachability.

Osawa says the glasses are designed to help people with "emotional labor" by adopting cyborg technology to increase the emotional comfort of those around them. "This emotional support reduces a user's cognitive load for social manners," Osawa says.

Emotional labor, as described by sociologist A.R. Hochschild, requires maintaining the appearance of politeness that is necessary for a job, but that can take a mental and emotional toll on the worker.

When a person wearing AgencyGlass tilts their head back, the virtual eyes look upward to make it appear as if they are in thought, while nodding or shaking their head triggers blinks. The device uses a gyroscope and accelerometer to read head movements, and an external camera to spot faces and motion.

Osawa downplays arguments that AgencyGlass deceives people, contending those around the user know they are wearing the device, which minimizes any deception.

From IEEE Spectrum
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