Whenever you have the chance to talk to one of the researchers from the Nokia Research Center (NRC), you’re almost certain to walk away with a bewildered smile on your face.
NRC has just opened up a new hub in Espoo and it will become one of Nokia’s most important research hubs. The close proximity to strategic partners at universities is a key element of NRC’s open collaboration strategy.
“There’s huge value for us in sharing ideas and learning from current research, and hopefully real value to our partners from the academic community, in seeing their research ideas incorporated into products which will be used by billions of people every day”, says Hannu Kauppinen, Head of NRC.
To prove their point, the researchers gave us a sneak-peak into some of their forward-looking demos.
One brilliantly simple idea is the Social Camera.
“You have probably been at a birthday party where people take a lot of photos and need a simple way to share them amongst themselves,” says Guido Grassel from NRC. “What people often do is share them in Facebook or Dropbox, but not everyone has access to these channels.”
“Sharing images via the Social Camera application is very easy: you simply create an album on your device and invite others to join via NFC. Once you have shared the album, it takes only one click to share a newly captured photo straight into your friends’ phones – and to get photos of yourself from the others. This way, everyone will have all the party photos before leaving the party – no need to exchange email addresses. And there’s no chance of forgetting to share the photos later.”
Hmm, seems simple enough. What about the man in the corner, wearing an odd-looking thing on his head? I am guessing he is demoing something called Capacitive Facial Activity Measurement, which is also fondly nicknamed the Facehugger.
“The Facehugger includes electrodes, which register your facial activity. The machine measures when you for example nod your head or smile,” explains Akos Vetek from the Nokia Research Center. The project was developed in collaboration with the University of Tampere and Tampere University of Technology.
Your facial activity includes a huge number of data that we rely on during social interaction. Normally, this all happens subconsciously.
There may be numerous ways to use this technology, but phone conversations are one obvious use case. In phone meetings, for example, you can never be quite sure when it is your turn to speak. In the future, technology can tell you when to jump in.
In my mind, I can already see my phone warning me of potentially dangerous situations. Even if my husband sounds normal on the phone, my phone will tell me he is actually frowning. Now that’s what I call intelligent technology!