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Mask by MindMaze, Switzerland Mask by MindMaze, Switzerland

Playing with emotions

21 : 04 : 2017 Virtual Reality : The E-motional Economy : Social Media

Switzerland – Mask is the first device capable of interpreting real-life emotions and replicating them in virtual reality (VR).

  • The foam insert has been designed for use in both high-end and low-cost headsets
  • It is able to recognise 10 expressions
  • This more social form of VR marks a move towards the mainstream market

Mask’s technology can map expressions onto an avatar in real time. Created by neurotechnology company MindMaze, the lightweight foam headset insert is fitted with eight small sensors capable of recognising users’ facial expressions.

Using advanced machine learning and biosignal processing, the sensors pick up facial movements without the need for calibration. The device, which combines hardware and software, can decode facial expressions tens of milliseconds before they appear on the user’s face. It then translates them into one of 10 avatar expressions, ranging from smiling and frowning to winking.

Rather than creating its own headset, MindMaze has created a product that can be inserted into any existing VR headset, making it a cheap, accessible option for consumers who already own a device and thereby helping to develop the role of VR in gaming. Creating more emotionally engaging experiences capable of capturing attention for longer will also help to propel VR further towards the mainstream market.

‘Humanising virtual reality is a natural progression,’ says Tej Tadi, CEO and founder of MindMaze. ‘What makes us human in social interactions is emotion, but that has been missing in virtual reality so far. Mask brings emotion, the ultimate driver of engagement, with the goal of evolving VR beyond novelty.’

The Big Picture

MK2VR has already introduced social VR within a physical setting. This next iteration demonstrates the social capabilities of VR within the medium itself. For more, see our Virtual Reality market report.