Face Reader Bridges Autism Gap

The system’s software goes beyond tracking simple emotions like sadness and anger to estimate complex mental states like agreeing, disagreeing, thinking, confused, concentrating and interested. The goal is to put this mental state inference engine on a wearable platform and use it to augment or enhance social interactions, said Rana el Kaliouby, a postdoctoral researcher at the Media Lab.

“This is only possible now because of the progress made in affective computing, real-time machine perception and wearable technologies,” she said.

The researchers are developing an outward-facing version of the ESP system with a cap-mounted camera connected to a wearable computer. People with autism spectrum disorders have a hard time determining others’ emotions or even whether someone is paying attention to them. The system is designed to provide that missing information. —Eric SmalleyFace Reader Bridges Autism Gap (Wired)

My students and I recently read Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, which has a protagonist who is unable to read facial expressions. Now that we’re reading The Diamond Age (a cyberpunk bildungsroman about a marvellously advanced educational book), I thought it would be worthwhile to blog this technological innvation as well.