A Wired article published this week reports on a very cool technology that's being used for what may be the stupidest research project ever.
The technology in use is emotion-recognition software, or ERS for those who collect three-letter IT acronyms. Essentially, it takes pictures of faces and creates a 3-D map that pinpoints 12 key trigger areas, such as eye corners, Wired reports. It then uses an algorithm to match the movements to six expression patterns: anger, sadness, fear, surprise, disgust and happiness, or some combination thereof.
So what did they do with this fascinating technology?
They used it to determine that women like ice cream and chocolate better than yogurt and apples.
I assume this is more of a test of concept for the technology, not an actual research project to see if women really do prefer ice cream over apples. But after reading the article, I'm not 100 percent sure.
The project was conducted by the same software developers who worked on deciphering the Mona Lisa's smile. They were hired by Unilever, which sells foods and consumer goods. The ERS uses a standard PC and webcam, and works in real time.