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Microsoft Patents ‘Emotions’

In a patent application published last week, Microsoft outlines a way to target advertisements based on a customer’s emotional state. This recent patent follows on the heels of a March patent that uses the company’s Kinect motion-sensing camera to track a user’s emotional response to stimuli. The company sees this as an attempt to monetize the expansion of its camera into more than just game play. .

The application goes on to say that Microsoft intends to store the emotional signals its camera observes and use the data to better target advertising.
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“The monitored activities of the users are processed by a computer system to assign emotional states to the users. The emotional states are stored in an emotional state database along with identifiers for the users. An advertisement database stores the ads and targeting information, including desired emotional states, provided by the advertisers.”
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The application states that once the software has received information about a user’s emotional state it will then transmit that information to an advertiser and select an ad with the best “monetization value.”
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Microsoft gives an example of a company called OMG Inc., which advertises for children’s birthday party events. The company had an ad using animations of bowling balls smashing pins, loud fireworks and colorful balloons, which got negative feedback from some viewers who were in states of “distress” or “sadness.” To solve the problem the advertiser can now log into its account and enable advertising only with users displaying a positive emotional state.
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The invention also offers a way for advertisers to bid on “emotional states” and alter their bid based on the amount of time a user was feeling that way and the strength of the user’s emotion as well as what else the user was doing while online.
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Source:Microsoft Plans to Patent Emotionally Charged Advertising,” by Victoria Slind-Flor, published at Bloomberg.com.
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