MEASUREMENT AND VALIDATION OF
INTERACTION AND COMMUNICATION
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention generally relates to electronic monitoring systems, and more particularly to a method and apparatus for measuring and validating social human interactions and communications, using computer and naviga- 10 tional technologies to remotely monitor group dynamics.
2. Description of Related Art
Social interaction and communication have always been important topics for study in the continuing pursuit of improving human existence. As technology evolves, it :5 becomes increasingly important to understand how social intercourse is affected. New technologies not only add new stressors to human interaction, but further affect the quality and nature of these interactions as humans adjust their behaviors patterns to integrate technological advances. 20
Accordingly, the ability to monitor and measure human interaction and communication is quickly being recognized and promoted as an essential element of businesses, careers, and personal lives. Existing methods do not, however, provide an effective solution for such monitoring needs. 25 Conventional monitoring systems are limited to those that provide details regarding an individual's separate existence, e.g., medical telemetry data, and do not relate to interactions with others. Navigational aids, such as those based on the
global positioning system (GPS) or similar reckoning devices, can be used to track the movements of a vehicle or an individual, but do not yield any useful information regarding the individual's surroundings, other than that which can be inferred from the purely geographic information. 35
The following scenarios illustrate some simple examples wherein measurement tools might benefit various classes of individuals. A first example relates to polling validation. If an article in a periodical suggests that a primary factor in the 4Q breakdown of family values is that fathers do not spend enough time with their children then, to substantiate the claim, a poll may be taken, revealing that fathers spend only a certain amount of time each day with their children. A mechanism is needed to validate these findings, but none 4J exists. To continue the foregoing example, a family counselor might want to know the actual amount of time a specific father spends with his children. Again, no reliable automated method exists for making such an accurate determination. 5Q
In another example, an employee may make a claim, during an employee evaluation, that she has been compelled to spend 50% of her time personally mentoring and counselling junior employees. The employee's manager needs a method to validate this claim, but no such method is 55 available. A broader example relates to a psychologist's desire to determine a patient's source of stress. Due to busy lifestyles, the patient may be unable to isolate which social interaction is the cause of undue (serious) stress. There is, however, no conventional apparatus or technique that can be 60 used to carry out this analysis (other than the very tedious and time-consuming approach of having someone review a series of video or audio recordings taken of the subject).
In light of the foregoing, it would be desirable to provide a method of monitoring an individual's interaction with the 65 environment, such as by detecting or analyzing conversations. It would be further advantageous if the method were
adapted to analyze interactions in a crowded, complex, and realistic environment, where it becomes more difficult to establish the identity of the intended recipient of any communication.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is therefore one object of the present invention to provide a method and apparatus for monitoring social human interactions.
It is another object of the present invention to provide such a method which measures quantifiable social interaction parameters so as to validate observable behavior.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide such a method which may be implemented in complex environments, and which further may be easily adapted to glean additional information from these more complex environments.
The foregoing objects are achieved in a method of monitoring an individual's interactions, generally comprising the steps of locating a measurement device proximate the individual, recording a value of an interaction parameter of the individual (such as conversational speech) using the measurement device, and storing the value of the interaction parameter with an associated geographic coordinate. A report can then be generated, including the value of the interaction parameter and the associated geographic coordinate. The report can further include a timeframe associated with the particular value of the interaction parameter. The global positioning system can be used to provide the geographic data. The directional orientation (attitude) of the individual may further be measured and stored with the value of the interaction parameter and the associated geographic coordinate. The attitude measurement can be used to facilitate selection of one or more other subjects as recipients of the communication (i.e., when the individual is facing one or more of the subjects). The analysis and report generation is preferably accomplished at a remote facility which supports multiple measurement devices, so each device sends a unique identifier which distinguishes the particular measurement device.
The above as well as additional objectives, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed written description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The novel features believed characteristic of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, as well as a preferred mode of use, further objectives, and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a block diagram of one embodiment of a social interaction monitoring system constructed in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a pictorial representation of a report generated in accordance with the present invention, showing various interaction parameters between multiple subjects; and
FIG. 3 is plan view of a group of people engaged in multiple conversations, illustrating how the directional orientation of the individuals can be used to determine which of them are intended as recipients of particular communications, in accordance with the present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF AN ILLUSTRATIVE
With reference now to the figures, and in particular with reference to FIG. 1, there is depicted a block diagram of one