One problem with Autistic children is the inability to relate to other people. They aren't able to recognize certain facial expressions or even begin to understand another person's emotions. Researchers at MIT have been working on a solution for this:
The Emotion Dectector.
So how does this thing work?
A camera on a pair of glasses is hooked up to a handheld computer which is able to decipher the facial expressions of another person. The key to the Emotion Detector is the software running on the handheld. MIT researchers have created an image and emotion recognition program that decodes the images fed to it via the camera.
If you see a geek out there wearing camera glasses hooked up to a handheld computer, beware!
If computer believes a listener is bored or disinterested, the thing will vibrate and the camera wearing person can either change the subject, maybe tell some jokes, or run away in total embarassment.
This is a huge step is emotion recognition software, as prior technology could only detect very basic emotions such as anger, happiness, sadness, surprise, and disgust. This new software is capable of figuring out of a listener is thinking, agreeing, disagreeing, or totally bored.
So how was this software developed? The program's learning algorithm was primed by showing it 100 8 second clips of actors displaying certain emotions. It detected the movement of the eyebrows, eyes, mouth, nose - and also the head movements including nodding, shaking, or tilting. After "teaching" the software about what emotions looked like, researchers showed it a whole set of new footage, and the computer was accurate in detecting the correct emotion 90% of the time. Professor Simon Baron Cohen of the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, said: "It is a very clever application as a prosthetic device."
Imagine the possibilities once this program is perfected. You could use such a "Boredom Barometer" in many situations:
* Business...During meetings you can set up webcams feeding the images of all the people in the boardroom. If somebody is doodling or text messaging their mistress, BEEP BEEP BEEP! Either the boss can try to make the meeting more engaging, or just fire the slacker's ass right there.
* Education...This would be a teacher's best friend. You set up the system in the classroom, and whenever a kid starts to dose off or write love notes to his girlfriend's best friend, BEEP BEEP BEEP! The teacher can take appropriate action. She can either make her lessons more interactive and interesting, or she can snag that love note and read it in front of the entire class.
* Dating...The Boredom Barometer would be heaven-sent for guys in the dating world. You put on your camera glasses and keep the handheld in your pocket. As the date progresses, you go through your normal speel like exaggerating how much money you make or how sensitive you are to the world's plight against hunger. The moment she knows you're full of shit and just want to have sex with her, BEEP BEEP BEEP. You can split the check and go out and find another willing victim...uh...I mean date.
* Blogging...Maybe they can set up a similar system for bloggers! You're reading a blog, and the moment you get bored, the software immediately removes the blog from your browser and takes you to a much more entertaing blog to.....