Smart Ads Detect Human Emotions

Did that advertisement in the mall bother you? Did it make you laugh? Soon, its designers may be able to record your reaction with the help of a tiny video camera and an advanced, facial analysis software package. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits in Erlangen, Germany are developing a rapid facial analysis program that will determine, based on an image, whether a person is happy, sad or angered while staring at an advertisement. Comparing what it sees to a database of 30,000 facial characteristics, the system determines whether the subject is male or female, and focuses on the contours of the face, eyes, eyebrows and nose to estimate his or her mood. You can watch a demo here. And no, it doesn't talk back to you, like those annoying Minority Report ads - though that day could be approaching. What would be worse, when you're feeling a bit low, than a Gap poster detecting your funk and telling you to cheer up?—Gregory Mone

(Image credit: Fraunhofer IIS)