OKAO Vision Lets Machines See You Smile

OKAO Vision, smile recognition software from Omron Corporation, will help us to achieve a goal that will be increasingly important - making sure machines know how we feel.

(OKAO vision smile detector)

OKAO Vision Real-time Smile Measurement Technology automatically identifies faces in digital images and assigns a "percent smiling" figure to each smile it finds. The system fits a three-dimensional model to each facial area in the photograph by using standard reference points (mouth, nose, eyes, eye brows, etc.)

Then, the OKAO vision software analyzes the degree to which the mouth and eyes are open, shape of the eyes and mouth and the position of other facial features. Faces must be at least sixty pixels wide and tilted less than thirty degrees to either side, and tilted less than fifteen degrees up and down.

The OKAO system is about 90 percent accurate; it does not even require "training;" that is, it does not need to be shown the faces beforehand. The system was developed after studying the facial expressions of 15,000 different individuals from a variety of cultures; the age of the subjects ranged from infants to the elderly. The software can process an image in just 0.044 seconds on a PC, so it will have lots of real-time applications.

For example, consider a digital camera that takes a continuous stream of pictures when you depress the shutter; the camera itself decides when everyone is maximally smiling, and gives you that picture.

Science fiction writers have long known the importance of making sure that machines are properly aware of their user's emotional state. The Daily Schedule device from Frank Herbert's 1977 novel The Dosadi Experiment looked at how its user moved and behaved:

The Daily Schedule began playing to McKie as he emerged from the bath. The DS suited its tone to his movements and the combined analysis of his psychophysical condition.

"Good morning, ser," it fluted.
(Read more about Herbert's Daily Schedule)

The fabled HAL 9000 computer from Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey seemed to read voices for emotions rather than faces:

"Hal, switch to manual hibernation control."

"I can tell from your voice harmonics, Dave, that you're badly upset. Why don't you take a stress pill and get some rest?"
(Read more about the HAL 9000 computer)

HAL knew his way around the human face; his lipreading talents almost doomed both astronauts. Computers are making strides in lipreading like HAL; take a look at Big Brother To Read Lips Like HAL and Computerized Lip-Reading Crime Fighters for more information about these advances.

I was also thinking that the OKAO vision technology could enhance the new Polar Rose search engine; Polar Rose specializes in finding the faces of people you know on the Internet. (Learn more about the Polar Rose Face-Recognition Search Engine.)

Via OKAO Vision.

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