Biofeedback shows attention levels of online audiences

Researchers at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam and Falmouth University in the UK have developed a novel method to measure the response of audiences watching a show. Using skin conductivity sensors, the researchers were able to monitor the attention levels and emotional response of the spectators of a theatre’s play.

The theatre's play

Researchers at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam and Falmouth University in the UK have developed a novel method to measure the response of audiences watching a show. Using skin conductivity sensors, the researchers were able to monitor the attention levels and emotional response of the spectators of a theatre’s play. The results of this trial are important to monitor the social interaction between performers and their web-based remote audiences. 

The audience of an online live show or lecture is usually hard for performers to assess. The remoteness makes it hard to get an idea how the performance is received and to adjust the message accordingly. A new method developed by computer scientists at CWI and creative arts researchers at Falmouth University aims to reach this level of social interaction through sensor data.

During an experiment, the researchers used sensors measuring skin conductance to collect data of fifteen people watching a live theatre’s play simultaneously. Analysis of this data resulted in detailed information on the progression of attention levels and engagement during the play. This analysis showed that skin conductance data is a viable option to measure audience responses. The paper describing the results won a Best Paper Award during the European Interactive TV Conference in Como, Italy, last month.

This research is part of the EU-funded Vconect project. The vision of this project is the adoption of high-quality video as a medium for mass communication within communities. The project members, who among others include British Telecom and Alcatel-Lucent, are building a video communication platform that can take intelligent decisions to mediate audiovisual communication between group members. The Distributed and Interactive Systems group at CWI, which participates in Vconect, investigates next-generation shared experiences through multimedia.

 

A short video describing the project: 

 

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