FaceReader in the Annual Dutch Science Quiz

Why does the shower curtain always stick to your legs? What is more sustainable, cheese or herring? These kind of questions were asked in the annual national science quiz (de Nationale Wetenschapsquiz 2017), which aired the 26th of December (watch it here). Ionica Smeets and Pieter Hulst presented the quiz and the guests were three duos consisting of a scientist and an artist. In this program, the teams tried to answer surprising and interesting questions on scientific research. You can find all the questions and answers here (in Dutch). Two teams played the finale, where the program used our FaceReader software in a very interesting way.

A Happy Robot Race

In the final contest, two Pepper robots had to be steered to the finish line while avoiding a small obstacle. The developers of the show had designed a special way of steering the robots: by using facial expressions! Each expression corresponded to a direction: looking happy made it go forward, angry turned it to the left and surprised turned it to the right. One team member tried to guide the robot by shouting out emotions and the other team member expressed the emotion that FaceReader then analyzed. This resulted in a lively and funny game; eventually won by chemist Marleen Kamperman and poet Ellen Deckwitz (congratulations!).

Other Applications

This was very entertaining, but of course, there are easier ways to control a robot. However, it was a nice example of how facial expression analysis can interact with other tools. This example used the emotional expressions, but the software can also recognise movements of muscles in the face (Action Units). We are also involved in a project where facial expressions are analyzed and then sent to a belt as a specific vibration pattern. This way subtle information can be provided to, for example, people who are blind or have trouble perceiving emotions. The possibilities are endless!