Computer Vision Technologies belong to the group of disruptive technological advances that will transform life, business and the global economy, according to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute (May 2013). A major area of interest for the application of computer vision technology is detecting and analysing human faces and facial expressions.
Now what is human emotion recognition, how can we perform facial recognition or face detection and how can we measure facial expressions and use them for interactive controls?
Face analysis software provides the capability to detect human faces with a simple camera or webcam and measure a number of features like mood (facial expressions), eye movement and head movement. Facial expressions that can be detected are the level of happiness, surprise, fear, disgust, anger and sadness.
The Smile Detector is a practical illustration of an interactive human face analysis application. It consists of a camera or webcam monitoring people in front of a screen. The camera is connected with a computer that runs the Smile Detector software based on the CrowdSight SDK that processes the images from the camera. The output from the Smile Detector is presented on the screen (example: see here).
Depending on the quality of the camera (zoom, resolution) human faces can be captured up to 15 meters distance. The Smile Detector detects faces of multiple people looking in the direction of the camera simultaneously. The software can distinguish which people are smiling and when a certain minimum ‘smile-threshold’ is triggered, it activates the camera to take a picture of the particular face. The picture is then positioned in the top-left corner of the screen and each time when new smiles are photographed, the pictures scroll clock-wise over the screen until they disappear at the down-left corner. No pictures are stored to avoid privacy issues.
The Smile Detector illustrates how facial expression analysis solutions can be put to use in a real-life environment. As the software measures mood in real-time, people can see the result of their actions instantaneously (when your smile is big enough, your picture appears on the (big) screen). Face analysis technology hence opens up a whole area of interactive application opportunities with for instance smart TV’s, mobile devices with frontal facing cameras, or robots with a webcam serving elderly people in assisted living environments. Not only smile levels can be used for controls, but also for instance eye movement or head movement.
Potential application areas for the Smile Detector are the Hospitality industry, Corporate reception desks, Exhibition organizers, the Leisure industry and the Gaming industry.
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