Last week, when Scott Walker survived Wisconsin's recall election, he became the first U.S. governor to do so. No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, it's safe to say you likely saw or read Wisconsin's election results sitting in front of a screen, be it from a computer, television or smartphone. Now researchers want to capitalize on that fact by using a screen-mounted camera designed to read your facial expression when you read the news.
Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Media Lab have designed MindReader, software that can, in just a few seconds of video, interpret facial expressions. It does so by tracking 24 points around the mouth, eyes and nose, noting the texture, color, shape and movement of facial features. Based on what it sees, it can interpret a person's feelings, sometimes more accurately than a humn.
Researchers trained the software to differentiate between happiness and sadness, boredom and interest, disgust and contempt.
While the technology has piqued the interest of the advertising industry, it's real significance may lie in aggregating peoples' reactions to big events as they watch them on screen. This could provide new, more thorough methods for opinion polls that could potentially sway elections and fuel revolutions.
"I feel like this technology can enable us to give everybody a non-verbal voice" and "leverage the power of the crowd," Media Lab's Rana el Kaliouby told New Scientist.