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The 2017 MedTech Boston 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators


32. Rana el Kaliouby, PhD
Co-Founder and CEO of Affectiva

Rana el Kaliouby, PhDWhile completing a PhD. program at Cambridge University, computer scientist Rana el Kaliouby realized that she was spending more time with machines than with human beings.

“Despite this intimacy, my machine had no clue how I was feeling. Even worse, as I communicated online with my family back home, I felt that all my emotions disappeared in cyberspace,” she said.

As a result of this experience, the computer expert would later become the CEO and Co-Founder of Affectiva, a startup attempting to create emotion-sensing technology and machinery.

“We’re increasingly living more of our lives online – and that digital world is devoid of emotion,” she explained.

At Affectiva, el Kaliouby hopes to build stronger artificial emotional intelligence, also called Emotion Al, in a world where humans are becoming more conversational with technology.

“We want to be synonymous with The Emotion Company. This is a very broad vision that has the potential to transform many industries, from advertising research to automotive, robotics and mental health.”

She explained that their devices have an emotion chip that reads facial expressions, analyzes tone of voice, and have built-in emotion awareness to “adapt emotions in real time.”

“I am especially passionate about the potential to transform mental health. Today, when you walk into a doctor’s office, you are not asked what your blood pressure is, the nurse just measures that. That is not true for mental and emotional health; Emotion AI can transform how clinicians quantify and track mental health conditions,” she says.

Outside of the office, the mother of two, ages 8 and 13, enjoys getting involved in her children’s extra curricular activities and field trips. She also enjoys traveling with her family. When the Affectiva head isn’t building emotion-sensing technology, she likes to boost her mood and raise endorphins with Zumba three times a week.

40 Under 40 Contributors

James Gardner, Pamela Bump, Olivia Tardif, Sarah Schroeder and Shreya Iyer all contributed to this year's 40 Under 40. Learn more about their work in the "About the Authors" section!

5 Comments

  1. kian firouzbakht says:

    Dear Omid keep going on I liked your achievement .
    I wish all the best to you and your family members.

  2. Karen Smith Vanderburgh says:

    One in a series of amazing achievements for Brian Harris and his wonderful company!

  3. Akari says:

    Thank you for writing about my big brother Daniel! I loved what you wrote. 🙂

  4. Congratulations to a true innovator and an organization that is already seeing around corners!

  5. Sudip Mukherjee says:

    Excellent sir…keep going…. Lucky to be his first student…

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