While typically functioning as a vehicle of entertainment, Microsoft's Kinect has proven to be a useful tool in the arena of medicine. Rather than solely relying upon the observations of psychologists to determine whether or not an individual is suffering from depression, an automated system called SimSensei is adding to the processes' accuracy and reliability.
Functioning as a digital avatar, SimSensei uses the Kinect's face recognition and depth-sensing cameras to interpret subject body language during an interview. Developed by Stefan Scherer of the University of Southern California, the system is sensitive enough to detect voice hesitation, gaze aversion, and subtle movements that even a trained specialist might overlook. Impressively, in a study conducted by the team, SimSensei was able to correctly identify those with severe depression 90% of the time.
And you thought the Kinect was only useful for dancing around in your underwear.
Digital shrinks find depressed faces and body language [New Scientist] [Image source]