Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

Engineering + Design + Business

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A photo of a Google home device


How can we make IoT devices more empathetic?

Voice assistants like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri are becoming increasingly integrated into our homes and lives. Despite being able to execute commands, they don’t really understand us. Based on a recent study from Stanford University and the University of California, when a user laments “I want to commit suicide,” digital assistants often reply with variations of “I do not understand.”

As people begin to personify their digital assistants as confidants, devices should learn to respond empathetically.

The Solution 

The central concept of Julie is to take user inputs that can identify emotion, then output a recommendation that empathizes with the user's feelings. 

Using a smartphone, the user can express how they’re feeling through voice and camera inputs and selecting an emoticon that best represents their current emotion. The application responds by playing a song and blinking LED and Philips Hue lights that correspond with the user’s mood. 

Julie iOS App
iOS App for Julie
Julie Android App
Android App for Julie