Background: Affective computing (AC) is concerned with emotional interactions performed with and through computers. It is defined as “computing that relates to, arises from, or deliberately influences emotions”. AC enables investigation and understanding of the relation between human emotions and health as well as application of assistive and useful technologies in the medical domain. Objectives: 1) To review the general state of the art in AC and its applications in medicine, and 2) to establish synergies between the research communities of AC and medical informatics. Methods: Aspects related to the human affective state as a determinant of the human health are discussed, coupled with an illustration of significant AC research and related literature output. Moreover, affective communication channels are described and their range of application fields is explored through illustrative examples. Results: The presented conferences, European research projects and research publications illustrate the recent increase of interest in the AC area by the medical community. Tele-home healthcare, AmI, ubiquitous monitoring, e-learning and virtual communities with emotionally expressive characters for elderly or impaired people are few areas where the potential of AC has been realized and applications have emerged. Conclusions: A number of gaps can potentially be overcome through the synergy of AC and medical informatics. The application of AC technologies parallels the advancement of the existing state of the art and the introduction of new methods. The amount of work and projects reviewed in this paper witness an ambitious and optimistic synergetic future of the affective medicine field
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