10/07/2013 10:13 BST | Updated 09/09/2013 06:12 BST

'My Automated Conversation Coach' Is A Digital Social Interaction Trainer (VIDEO)

A new piece of software aims to act as a 'social trainer' by engaging you in conversation - and judging how well you're doing.

'My Automated Conversation Coach' (Mach) is essentially a 3D animated interviewer, with whom you have a conversation - or rather answer a bunch of questions - while the software scrutinises how well you do.

Using a webcam, it can monitor your facial expressions and gestures, and can respond with useful tips on ways to improve.

The team behind it at MIT's Media Lab say that it could be used for a variety of situations - from training for a job interview, to helping those with social anxiety or other disorders to better cope with the social demands of modern life.

"Mach plays the role of the interviewer: it will smile at you, it will nod its head at the right points and at the end it will give you feedback," MIT's Ehsan Hoque told New Scientist.

Mach will be shown off in the UK in October, at a tech conference in St Andrews. The team is now hoping to raise cash to help bring the software to a wider audience online.