Public Release: 

FIK and TECNALIA develop 'Sentient' to enable the design of tailor-made election campaigns

'Sentient' measures the perception that the candidate causes in people and the effectiveness of their speeches

Elhuyar Fundazioa

This press release is available in Spanish.

Messages, attires, gestures, themes or melodies that are liked by the public are some of the aspects that guarantee the success of a political party. FIK and TECNALIA are now helping to define such feelings thanks to Sentient, a "feelings detector". This device issues reports on the positive or negative perception of some people to the stimuli of their environment. Thus, FIK and TECNALIA provide campaign managers with the necessary information to determine, adjust or even enhance the elements influencing voters' intentions.

Sentient is comprised by a heart rate monitor that measures the variations of the heartbeat and certain parameters deriving from it. TECNALIA researchers have created a system that, using the readings of a standard device (a commercial health rate monitor available to everyone), allows them to discern the intensity and emotional value of an individual at a given moment, and transmits this information via Bluetooth to a Smartphone that processes this information.

This emotion detector is used in controlled media, and on a group of people selected according to the needs of the political party based on tthe population groups that they wish to target, usually the undecided voters. Sentient transmits a series of parameters that may help in defining how an election campaign should be developed for a specific political party to earn the approval of the voters, by establishing an emotional link with them. This way, TECNALIA and its partner El Bureau de la Comunicacion, a Bilbao-based state-of-the-art advertising agency, can help political parties to design the most appropriate campaign strategies to achieve their goals.

Sentient measures the initial perception of the candidate in the study group - which may be positive or negative-, the intensity, the effectiveness of the speech - if they like how things are said or not -, and if the structure and the language are appropriate. They can also develop a comparative assessment of different candidates regarding specific issues, such as the economy, education, immigration, etc. Thus Sentient provides information for campaign managers so that they adapt such parameters for the purpose of achieving a greater impact on voters.

Other uses for Sentient

The original goal of this device is to function as an automatic emotional transmitter. The technology can be used to measure the emotional response to different types of stimuli and therefore.can have numerous applications, such as in the marketing area - to know the impact of advertisements and television on the viewers -, and the healthcare field - to transmit the feelings of people who are unable to communicate.

In fact, Sentient has been used in a neuromarketing study that measured the emotional response to a series of TV adverts pursuing one goal: to aid the debate on the convenience to focus publicity about social issues on positive or negative messages.



TECNALIA Research & Innovation is the first Private Applied Research Centre in Spain and one of the most important in Europe; with 1,500 experts, from over 27 different nationalities, focusing on transforming knowledge into GDP to improve people's quality of life, by creating business opportunities for companies.

Inspiring Business is a synthesis of two concepts that go hand in hand: imagining and making it come true. TECNALIA's differential value.

About FIK

FIK is a business initiative with more than twenty-five investment partners and which carries out research in the field of disability. FIK is tackling a deep problem in advanced societies and represents, at the same time, a great business opportunity.

This is a new form of business cooperation which aims to obtain exploitable results, i.e. patents, enabling maximising the investment made and giving rise to products and services that maximise the personal independence, health and the quality of life of elderly people with disabilities. The patents will arrive on the market through existing business or by generating new technology-based companies. It is, thus a mechanism for regenerating the economic infrastructure. FIK aims to be the vanguard of new business in dealing with ageing.

The TECNALIA Research Centre is leading the scientific-technological aspects of this project, as it has ample experience in health fields, concretely in the area of ageing and disability.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.