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WATCH: Smart Glasses App Helps Tame the Fear of Public Speaking

Apr 23, 2015

Smart glasses with Rhema installed can record a speaker, analyze the volume and speaking rate, and present the data in real time.
Credit SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI NEWS

Public speaking, for many, can make palms sweat and hearts race. Now, researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction group at the University of Rochester have developed a new real-time feedback system using Google’s smart glasses, to help guide your performance as you speak in front of an audience.

The system, called Rhema, was developed last month and designed for people who need a bit of help addressing crowds.

Assistant professor Ehsan Hoque, who heads the three-person research team,  says Rhema listens as you speak and gives real-time feedback on your volume and speaking rate, without being distracting.

“Let’s say if you need to speak louder, in 20 seconds you would get feedback that would say ‘Louder’ and that will stay there for three seconds and go away. So it’s very subtle, yet very powerful.”

To test it out, the team brought in 30 people to wear Google Glass and try several different feedback systems, including one which shows the user colorful bars like traffic lights but they settled on the less-intrusive one which uses words.

The researchers also believe this type of private, live feedback could be useful for people with social difficulties, like Asperger syndrome, and for people working in customer service.

Rhema is available for a free download from the team’s website: www.cs.rochester.edu/hci/currentprojects.php?proj=rh. A reminder that you’ll need to have Google Glass for it to work. 

Watch as I test out the Rhema app in the video below.