September 30th, 2006

“Software that contorts an image of a person’s face to express different emotions could enrich text-based internet chat,”this New Scientist article reports.”The researchers behind the system say it can quickly transform a user’s face to convey any of six emotions, ranging from anger to happiness.A user first uploads a picture of their face with a “neutral” expression. Then they use their mouse to mark the ends of their eyebrows, the corners of their mouth and the edges of their eyes and lips.The software uses these points to morph the face to express different emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust. A user can select an emotion and one of three intensity levels when using the system.”We think it could be an improvement on the crude emoticons [ 🙂 ] instant messaging programmes use now,” says Anthony Boucouvalas who created the system with colleagues at Bournemouth University in the UK. “It isn’t perfect but it gets the message across and is very convenient.”The software uses a facial image database to determine the correct spatial relationship between different facial features for different emotions. It distorts the points and areas marked by the user to shift them for a desired emotion.In tests, a group of 35 volunteers were able to correctly recognise morphed emotions 60% of the time. Boucouvalas believes this is high enough to be used with internet chat, where the text could help reduce misunderstandings”.

Forget ’emoticons’ – use your own smiley face

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