Halmstad University

At Halmstad University in southern Sweden, our group is investigating how to build semi-aware systems which can support people’s well-being through interactions. As a first step toward potentially being able to intervene to help people to feel better through art/painting, we have formed a team for the robot art competition, “HEARTalion”, and are developing a system, “Rob Boss” (a play on words on the name of the famous artist, Bob Ross), which can recognize and depict a person’s current emotional state. (The “HEART” of HEARTalion stands for “Halmstad university Emotional Art RoboT”, and “alion” is just for fun or could represent some placeholder like the missing 1/64 in the Eye of Horus.) Following Russell’s circumplex model, we model emotions along two main dimensions, “arousal” and “valence” (basically indicating how excited or sleepy, and how happy or sad, a person feels). Honest, involuntary emotional signals are captured by our system using a Brain-Machine Interface (BCI). To then convey the emotions visually, we have developed a model incorporating advice from two local painters active in Halmstad, Peter Wahlbeck and Dan Koon. Together, as part of the competition, we hope to explore one part of what we feel is a truly fascinating area on the boundary of technology and artwork, and intend to report our results in a master’s thesis and also as part of a journal article. (We have also demonstrated Rob Boss painting an artist’s feelings at an event on April 12 at our university, which was covered by local television, newspapers, and radio.)

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