Tecnalia. Inspiring Business

Tecnalia. Inspiring Business

FIK and TECNALIA develop an emotion detector that enables the design of tailor-made election campaigns


FIK and TECNALIA provide campaign managers with the necessary information to determine, adjust or even enhance the elements influencing voters' intentions.

“Sentient” measures the perception that the candidate causes in people and the effectiveness of their speeches

Messages, attires, gestures, themes or melodies that are liked by the public are some of the aspects that guarantee the success of a political party. FIK and TECNALIA are now helping to define such feelings thanks to Sentient, a "feelings detector". This device issues reports on the positive or negative perception of some people to the stimuli of their environment.  Thus, FIK and TECNALIA provide campaign managers with the necessary information to determine, adjust or even enhance the elements influencing voters' intentions.

Sentient is comprised by a heart rate monitor that measures the variations of the heartbeat and certain parameters deriving from it. TECNALIA researchers have created a system that, using the readings of a standard device (a commercial health rate monitor available to everyone), allows them to discern the intensity and emotional value of an individual at a given moment, and transmits this information via Bluetooth to a Smartphone that processes this information.

This emotion detector is used in controlled media, and on a group of people selected according to the needs of the political party based on tthe population groups that they wish to target, usually the undecided voters. Sentient transmits a series of parameters that may help in defining how an election campaign should be developed for a specific political party to earn the approval of the voters, by establishing an emotional link with them. This way, TECNALIA and its partner El Bureau de la Comunicacion, a Bilbao-based state-of-the-art advertising agency, can help political parties to design the most appropriate campaign strategies to achieve their goals.

Sentient measures the initial perception of the candidate in the study group - which may be positive or negative-, the intensity, the effectiveness of the speech - if they like how things are said or not -, and if the structure and the language are appropriate. They can also develop a comparative assessment of different candidates regarding specific issues, such as the economy, education, immigration, etc. Thus Sentient provides information for campaign managers so that they adapt such parameters for the purpose of achieving a greater impact on voters.

Other uses for Sentient

The original goal of this device is to function as an automatic emotional transmitter. The technology can be used to measure the emotional response to different types of stimuli and therefore.can have numerous applications, such as in the marketing area - to know the impact of advertisements and television on the viewers -, and the healthcare field - to transmit the feelings of people who are unable to communicate. 

In fact, Sentient has been used in a neuromarketing study that measured the emotional response to a series of TV adverts pursuing one goal: to aid the debate on the convenience to focus publicity about social issues on positive or negative messages.


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