Only Kinect:

Virtual Psychiatry is Here


SimSensei, a program developed by the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, uses Microsoft Kinect to add information about “subtle” changes in body language, eye contact and facial expression to the information gleaned from questionnaires meant to assess depression with yes/no questions.

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Of further interest:
Virtual shrink detects depression using Kinect (SmartPlanet)
Kinect-based system diagnoses depression with 90% accuracy (ExtremeTech)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. It could be an April Fool. It’s sad, though, that most of what comes out of the mental health industry – not just psychiatry – could be April Fool, or out of Saturday Night Live, but it’s not.

    Stephen Gilbert, I completely agree with you. You ask where is the human contact that begins the process of healing – it’s about the same place that human contact has gone in the rest of our lives: five hours/day of TV, Facebook, texting, twitter and all the other ways we avoid directly seeing, touching, speaking with, actually being with each other.

    Not to mention drugging (er – medicating) to dull out feelings. One of my favorite (if appalling) cartoons was in the New Yorker about 10 years ago. Dad looks up from his book, and says to his forlorn 5 year old standing in her bedroom door, “A bed time story? Wouldn’t you really rather a nice sedative?”

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    • The thing that strikes me about this is that a person in distress might get better assistance from something like this than they would probably get from a flesh and blood psychiatrist or psychologist. At least they might get more than ten minutes of time!

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