Photokina 2014 highlights

Fraunhofer's Google Glass app detects human emotions in real time

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August 27, 2014

Facial recognition technology developed at the Fraunhofer Institute can detect human emoti...

Facial recognition technology developed at the Fraunhofer Institute can detect human emotion (Photo: Fraunhofer Institute)

Over a number of years, researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute have developed software to measure human emotion through face detection and analysis. Dubbed SHORE (Sophisticated High-speed Object Recognition), the technology has the potential to aid communication for those with disabilities. Now the team has repurposed the software as an app for Google Glass, with a view to bringing its emotion-detecting technology to the world.

Facial recognition has been a hot-button issue where Google Glass is concerned. The idea of strangers identifying and streaming your online details in the time it takes to wander past them in the street would be a little unsettling for most. Fraunhofer is quick to emphasize, however, its software can't determine a person's identity, it purely analyzes their emotions in real-time, with none of the information ever leaving the device. All the calculations are carried out in real-time by the CPU integrated in the eyewear.

The SHORE technology is based on recognizing structure-based features, learning algorithms and was "trained" through the use of a database containing more than 10,000 annotated faces. It gauges emotions, such as anger, happiness, sadness and surprise, and displays this information on screen. It is also capable of estimating gender and age, a feature Fraunhofer says could lead to applications in interactive gaming and market research.

Looking past its potential to engender a new breed of smart eyewear solutions, the app could have very real applications for those with communicative disabilities, such as autism. Emotions that the wearer is unable to interpret could be processed by the app, with the data then superimposed in their field of vision to paint a more complete picture of the social interaction. Another use for SHORE could be as a tool for the visually impaired, with missing information relayed through audio feedback.

Through participation in the Google Glass Explorer Program, the Fraunhofer researchers have tested the smart eyewear, though they are yet to detail a launch date for the app. In any case, it may yet find another vehicle, with the team claiming the technology has a high degree of optimization and can be adapted to just about any platform or operating system.

You can see a demonstration of the SHORE technology in the video below.

Source: Fraunhofer

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. He now writes for Gizmag, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, Melbourne's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches.   All articles by Nick Lavars
6 Comments

this software will be a boon to those on the autistic spectrum and/or those with aspergers. If only such software was around when I was a child!

Michael Wilson
28th August, 2014 @ 12:14 am PDT

I'm assuming you can't opt-out of this privacy invasion.

JSmith
28th August, 2014 @ 03:36 am PDT

This really is well on the way to providing something like Orwell's vision of the future. I'll bet TPTB are busy developing a way of linking this their databases.

If the occasion should ever arise that I am interviewed by an official wearing Google Glass(es), I will refuse to cooperate until they remove them. And I am not that keen on socialising, or even just speaking to anyone wearing them.

I suppose the next development will be to hide the fact that Google Glass is actually present in the glasses, which will give the wearer another advantage, because their glasses will not shout "I am a geek" to all and sundry.

Mel Tisdale
28th August, 2014 @ 05:07 am PDT

At last a decent app. I've always wondered, when looking at someone, whether they were happy or sad. Now there's an app to tell me. I'll never have to wonder again. Thanks so much

Facebook User
28th August, 2014 @ 05:09 am PDT

@JSmith - you cry about privacy, yet you're okay with credit companies/agencies sell your information to whomever.

Chaqlarie Pierre
28th August, 2014 @ 08:06 am PDT

Tonight, just before I go to bed, for the first time in many years, I’m going to get on my knees and pray:

"God, I call on you to prove that you are all the things the Bible claims (Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient) by inflicting the developers of Google Glass and their acolytes at the Fraunhofer Institute with all 10 of the Plagues of Egypt--or whatever subset of those plagues You think will serve.

"Personally, I'd call down floods of flaming Frogs (to mix my Plagues) on anybody trying to use Google Glass to read my emotions, if only so I could see how Google's engineers would cram my rainbow of unprecedented emotions into the four pitiful boxes of Angry, Happy, Sad, and Surprised.

"Likewise, Lord, I'd request that, if it's at all possible, You afflict with Boils, Storms of Fire, and Darkness the disingenuous souls who claim this technology is meant to improve communications with the disabled. Anybody who's watched Mssrs. Page and Brin over the past 10 years knows that their commercial goals trump everything else. I'm guessing they'd like this latest combo help advertisers. Imagine corporations being able to note, record, and analyze--for the first time ever, and in real time--our responses to their advertising in any and all channels.

"Measure and translate? Sure. But measure and monetize? Oh baby.

"In other words, God, we're in the usual fix, and I'm hoping you will help us out. To me, this looks like the next step on the road to The Unilateral Monetization of Me, or, to put it in Google's terms, Heaven on earth. Thanks for listening and, if you could, let me know when the fun's about to begin."

Mac McDougal
28th August, 2014 @ 10:35 am PDT
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