Scientists trying to interpret baby bawl

Babies bawl aloud to reveal their emotions, but none of the parenting handbooks can tell whether they are feeling hunger or discomfort. To study this behaviour, Japanese engineers have now turned to an approach known as kansei engineering, which aims to “measure” feelings and emotions.

Scientists trying to interpret baby bawl 300x213 Scientists trying to interpret baby bawlIt was invented in the 1970s by Mitsuo Nagamachi, professor and dean of Hiroshima International University. The approach could translate infant cries, so that parents will know for sure whether their child is sleepy, hungry, needing a change, or in pain.

Tomomasa Nagashima of computer science and systems engineering, Muroran Institute of Technology, and colleagues, explain that the fundamental problem in building an emotion detector for baby’s crying is that it cannot confirm verbally what its cries mean.

The team has employed sound pattern recognition approach that uses a statistical analysis of the frequency of cries and the power function of the audio spectrum to classify different types of crying.

They were then able to correlate the different recorded audio spectra with a baby’s emotional state as confirmed by the child’s parents.

In their tests, recordings of crying babies with a painful genetic disorder were used to make differentiating between the babies’ pained cries and other types of crying more obvious.

They achieved 100 percent success rate in a validation to classify pained cries and “normal” cries, says a Hiroshima release.

The findings were published in the International Journal of Biometrics.

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