Design & Emotion Blog

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Philips Design and ABN AMRO team up to create: An Emotion Mirroring System for Online Traders

This very interesting idea is one of the new concepts related to emotion sensing that Philips is working on. They are expanding their knowledge and product line with emotion-related concepts since recently. With great interest I have been following this and I look forward to chat a bit more to some of the people at Philips about all this.

Research shows that home investors do not act purely rationally: their behavior is influenced by emotions, most notably fear and greed, which can compromise their ability to take an objective, factual stance. This insight led to the Rationalizer concept in which online traders are alerted when it may be wise to take a time-out, wind down and re-consider their actions.


The Rationalizer concept is the result of a joint exploration project by ABN AMRO’s Dialogues Incubator and Philips Design. It clearly shows what great results can be achieved when two large companies create a stimulating environment for cooperation and open innovation. During the project other crucial parties were involved such as potential end-users, Philips and the VU University Amsterdam. This cooperation has led to various propositions of which the Rationalizer concept is a first concrete manifestation. In a few years from now you might recognize some of the elements of the Rationalizer concept in products and services we will market by then.

Geert Christiaansen, Director Business Development at Philips Design: “Philips Design has been exploring the area of emotion sensing for a number of years and has investigated different application areas, including relaxation and relationship care. In our talks with the people working on the ABN AMRO Dialogues Incubator, we were challenged to apply our competences to another domain, the domain of online trading for home investors. In this joint project we started to tackle this challenge. It proved to be both enjoyable and rewarding, leading to this thought-provoking result.”

Paul Iske, Director of the Dialogues Incubator: “The Dialogues Incubator is always actively looking for new and innovative ways to create value for our customers. That is why we took the first step, together with Philips Design, to mitigate the negative effect that emotions may have on financial decision making processes. In this Open Innovation project we have matched ABN AMRO’s investment and risk analysis expertise with Philips emotion sensing technology. The concepts underlying the Rationalizer system will be explored further because we believe they can add value in a variety of areas of application. “

The Rationalizer system consists of two components – the EmoBracelet and the EmoBowl. The bracelet measures the arousal component of the user’s emotion through a galvanic skin response sensor. This arousal level is rendered as a dynamic light pattern on either the EmoBracelet itself or on the EmoBowl. The higher the arousal level, the more intense the dynamic light pattern becomes: the number of elements increases, the speed increases and the color shifts from a soft yellow, via orange, to a deep red. The concept is based on easy to experience advanced sensing and signal processing technology from Philips: it does not require a complicated setup or complex user interface.

Source: Philips Design News (13th October 2009)

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