Researchers Developed a New On-Line Tool to Predict the Outcome of the US Elections

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Researchers in the Academy of Sciences in Hungary in cooperation with Digital Elite Inc. (US) have developed a Social Utility application that allows Internet users to communicate their emotions on-line, using email, Skype, Yahoo Messenger, MSN and sites like FaceBook. Their on-line tool, called FunIcons, is part of a large scale scientific study aimed at predicting the outcome of the US elections.

Researchers in the Academy of Sciences in Hungary in cooperation with Digital Elite Inc. (US) have developed a Social Utility application that allows Internet users to communicate their emotions on-line, using email, Skype, Yahoo Messenger, MSN and sites like FaceBook. Their on-line tool, called FunIcons, is part of a large scale scientific study aimed at predicting the outcome of the US elections.

FunIcons are animated faces that allow users to create millions of different expressions and use them instead of emoticons. The researchers created a range of photo-based characters, including US presidential candidates (McCain & Obama), a classic Smiley, Baby face, and even a set of Monkeys with the purpose of creating a more intuitive social interface.

"They were originally designed to put a smile on people's face but have become an important scientific tool to discover new facts about on-line communities and how emotions may be communicated in such environments," said Barnabas Takacs, the lead scientist behind the project, head of the team.

In the experiment the system statistically analyzes what characters users prefer and what facial expressions they select to express their feelings. Early results suggest a clear lead of one presidential candidate over the other, although it is too early to tell the final outcome of the study yet, which will last until November.

"With FunIcons we gauge the response mostly of a younger generation of voters whose contributions may become vital for both candidates, but we think of it as a universal tool for all ages." adds Dr. Takacs.

To learn how to participate send an email to FunIcons@panocast.com or visit the website hosted by Digital Elite, Inc. at http://www.digitalElite.us.com.

Links:

Hungarian Academy of Sciences http://www.sztaki.hu
Virtual Human Interface Group http://www.vhi.sztaki.hu
Digital Elite Inc. http://www.digitalElite.us.com
FunIcons http://www.digitalelite.us.com/Pages/DigitalElite/FunIcons.html

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Barnabas Takacs
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