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Lost the Remote? Use Your Face 88

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-look-bored dept.
coondoggie writes "A researcher has discovered a way to use facial expressions to speed and slow video playback. By using a combination of facial expression recognition software and automated tutoring technology Jacob Whitehill, a computer science Ph.D. student from UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering, is leading the project that ultimately is part of a larger venture to use automated facial expression recognition to make robots more effective teachers. The researchers recently conducted a pilot test with 8 people that demonstrated information within the facial expressions people make while watching recorded video lectures can be used to predict a person's preferred viewing speed of the video and how difficult a person perceives the lecture at each moment in time."
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Lost the Remote? Use Your Face

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  • by kharri1073 (1036550) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @12:25PM (#23936487) Homepage
    ... or just look between the couch cushions.
  • Bah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @12:26PM (#23936491)

    I have Bell's Palsy you insensitive clod!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @12:26PM (#23936495)

    So, whenever you were constipated, your movie would start rewinding?

  • Obvious use (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @12:26PM (#23936505)
    The obvious use for this technology is, of course, pornography. When it detects a look of boredom it knows to fast-forward through the plot bits. When it detects a relaxed-but-slightly-guilty look, it knows to stop the video and clear your browsing history.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Mushdot (943219)

      It will also help to find the smattering of good bits in the Star Wars prequels:

      Use the face, Luke.

      • by popmaker (570147)
        Heh, that just sound like the dialogue for one of the worst product placements in history... "That's right master yoda - the with the Facemaster 3000 I can easily spot what that evil Darth Vader and his gang of mischievous villains are up to - and I don't even have to use the remote!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HitekHobo (1132869)

      This kind of feedback could have astounding implications when you consider a 'porn tree' that viewers branch down based on their unconscious response to the stimulus before them.

      It might be just a small part of robotic teaching, but it could be industry changing for cyber-porn if someone actually developed the 'porn tree' and could get actors to play out a scene a couple of dozen ways with varying camera angles etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GroeFaZ (850443)
      Another use: when robots take over teaching (no matter the subject), whenever the robot teaching goes into a possibly pornographic direction, make an interested face, otherwise look bored. In due time, the robot should lecture about pr0n exclusively.
    • and when it detects the "nut face" it goes into sleep mode?

    • by gdog05 (975196)
      More than likely you'd sneeze causing the volume to max out just as someone arrives at the door. Now THAT's technology at work!
  • What about (Score:2, Funny)

    by pedropolis (928836)

    What about when it sees my O face. You know, Oh Oh Oh...

  • I can't wait (Score:5, Interesting)

    by merreborn (853723) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @12:29PM (#23936563) Journal

    Great. Then you'll know when the kids who grew up with this technology get bored -- they'll subconsciously start to make the "fast forward" facial expression.

    And when they mishear something, they'll make the "rewind" face.

    I can't wait. It'll be hilarious.

    • by Vectronic (1221470) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @12:32PM (#23936619)

      Agreed, just think about the brats, sitting in the corner, cycling through all the facial expressions trying to figure out why life isnt working.

    • Actually that could be a very useful bit of body language. I guess it depends on how exaggerated the facial cues are.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300)

      Well this could have unforeen consequenses. Say you have to watch a boring show or presentation. It is booring really boring but you have to go threw it as there is important information randomly spread out. If we start making expressions so automatically then we the kid will miss all the information.
      Or if there are 2 people watching the show and one guy is really dense and just doesn't get it the other guy will have to watch the show stop and start when he doesn't want it to.

      And Kids They will play the da

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Just hope I don't see the "fast forward" face when I'm having sex.

    • What a waste! (Score:3, Interesting)

      Facial recognition needs quite a bit of complex processing and very competent researchers. It is a pity that they're putting it into such a impractical application.

      Hand gesture recognition makes a lot more sense.

      • by kcbrown (7426)

        Hand gesture recognition makes a lot more sense.

        At least it's obvious what hand gesture to associate with the "skip this ad" function...

  • by Thelasko (1196535) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @12:33PM (#23936647) Journal
    can do this. I've noticed bad college professors just keep plowing through the subject. The best ones will look at the students faces and say, "Lets back up a little," when they see blank stares from their pupils.

    I don't think the ability to determine how difficult a concept is to grasp is the breakthrough here. I think it's the fact that a machine can do it.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      That alone can be the difference between a mediocre teacher and a great teacher.

       

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I would assume that a blank stare would be the most common face made when viewing TV. Especially if it's something that starts with "America's..." or "Celebrity...".
      • by Thelasko (1196535)

        would assume that a blank stare would be the most common face made when viewing TV. Especially if it's something that starts with "America's..." or "Celebrity...".
        I took apart my TV and used the parts to build an electron microscope years ago. The entertainment value in watching grass grow on the cellular level far exceeds that of reality TV.
  • fingertips (Score:4, Insightful)

    by COMON$ (806135) * on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @12:34PM (#23936667) Journal
    Ok I don't like the idea of changing with my facial expressions. We humans use soo many expressions when talking and even just watching video that any device recording them bound to get confused. What I am interested in is the gesture based technology. Proof of concepts like where they converted the wiimote to a sensor are neat. But I would pay good money for a universal remote where I could gesture with my hands to interact with my consoles. I feel like these are right around the corner. No looking for your remote, just gesture to change the channel or turn up the volume with a precursor motion. Every once in a while you see a company try to hit this market with different products like the playstation webcam thing but no one has hit it on the head yet.

    Has anyone heard of a company making good headway in this department?

  • Next, they'll be teaching computers to read lips. Anyone who has seen 2001: A Space Odyssey knows that this is a bad idea.
  • If it can recognize my "Stupid TiVo!" face when TiVo starts playing back one minute after (or before) I press the play button when rewinding (or fast-forwarding), well, we've got a winner here. Or at least recognize what I mean when I'm screaming "Not there! THERE! Ya piece of junk!"
    • by mattack2 (1165421)

      That's a generally highly respected feature of Tivos. I believe it's patented too.

      If you don't want it to jump back, use 30 sec skip instead.
      type select play select 3 0 select
      on the remote... Now the -> key skips 30 secs in normal play mode.

  • TFA (Score:2, Informative)

    by msaver (907214)
    A researcher has discovered a way to use facial expressions to speed and slow video playback.

    By using a combination of facial expression recognition software and automated tutoring technology Jacob Whitehill, a computer science Ph.D. student from UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering, is leading the project that ultimately is part of a larger venture to use automated facial expression recognition to make robots more effective teachers.

    The researchers recently conducted a pilot test with 8 people
  • by Captain Spam (66120) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @12:40PM (#23936753) Homepage

    Oh, oh, facial recognition. That makes a lot more sense. When I read the headline, I first thought it was going to suggest that if you lose the remote, get up and bash the buttons on the DVD player with your forehead or something.

    A similar system applied to computer keyboards would certainly make IT and data entry more interesting professions...

    • by niceone (992278)
      Oh, oh, facial recognition.

      Yeah, because faecal recognition would be kind of messy.
  • by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @12:42PM (#23936779) Journal

    For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive -- you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same programme.
  • Lets see... according to the speed of playback, I'd say the attacker jumped around the corner and startled John Doe before killing him and fleeing. It's clear that John Doe was a sports fan and configured his system to slow the video down when the current game play is unexpectedly upsetting.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @12:48PM (#23936871)
    Until we develop a neural link, all other interfaces will be poor substitutes. Of course there are drawbacks like the possibility that it will become The Matrix. Even if it worked, it might work too well:

    [Average male watching TV]
    [Average Male thought]: Hey! Football is on.
    [Neural Link switches to football]
    [Average Male thought]: Damn, a commercial. What else is on?
    [Neural Link begins switching channels at a breathtaking rate. Epilleptics in room start convulsing]
    [Average Male thought]: Is the game back on?
    [Neural Link switches back to football]
    [Average Male thought]: Damn, another commercial. Hey that girl is hot!
    [Neural Link switches to Playboy channel and dims lights]
    [Male's Significant Other stares at him in disgust]
    • I wonder exactly how 'trackable' your ... I guess "Thought Voice" really is. When you talk out loud in your own head... or for that matter if everyone CAN do that.

      Differences in mental make up are going to make direct interface devices a pain in the arse, but if we can all at least 'talk' in our heads, it would be a good step... even if everyone had their own translator (which I'm sure they would)
    • by AgentSmith (69695)

      Hey! I like that idea.

      But you forgot the punchline

      [Male's Significant Other stares at him in disgust]
      [Neural Link switches switches to Dr. Phil]
      [Male's Ex-Significant Other walks in and yells]
      [Neural Link switches to Jerry Springer. Convulsing Epileptics start chanting Jerry! Jerry!]

      I gotta tell the boss!

      msgsend to 1.1.1.1

      Architect. Suggest appropriate changes to Matrix. Note previous text. End Msg;

      chkmsg from 1.1.1.1

      Process AgentSmith. Suggested changes failed in nodes 1456:456-1456:468. Matrix change deni

  • Interesting (Score:2, Funny)

    by iXiXi (659985)
    So when you are nodding off late at night, what happens? Does the volume go up and down? That could create an infinite loop. I bet if my neighbor's wife looked at the TV it would change the channel to the Sci-fi network.
  • ... when you do this in front of other people because of a lost remote, now you lose face as well.

  • Hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by ubrgeek (679399) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @01:05PM (#23937137)
    > The next Slashdot story will be ready soon, but subscribers can beat the rush and see it early!

    *look of boredom*
    Nope, didn't help ...
  • Help desk (Score:4, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @01:05PM (#23937139) Homepage

    Cool! We could apply this to computers and do away with the mouse...

    Typical day at the support desk:

    Support: "Hello, how can I help you?"
    User: "Hi, I can't see how to open an application"
    Support: "OK, you need to look at the application you want to open"
    User: "OK"
    Support: "Now, double blink with your left eye"
    User: "Hey! That did it!"
    Support: "Great, is there anything else I can help you with?"
    User: "Yeah, sometimes I'll be doing stuff and the popup menu will appear, it's quite annoying"
    Support: "Hmmm, perhaps you suffer from a nervous twitch"
    User: "Actually, I do have a problem in my right eye, that's probably it!"
    Support: "Thanks for calling, bye now."

    • Caller: I'm trying to open my browser, but nothings happening

      Tech: Are you thinking about your browser or tacos?

      Caller: Tacos

      Tech: Ah, common problem. Think about your browser.

      Caller: Ahhhh! That did it! Thank you!
    • Support: "Now, double blink with your left eye"
      User: "Your left, or my left?"

      (I'm also allowing for the possibility that the user knows the word "eye", which is dubious at best. Because, you see, whereas many people would say "those two round vision organs on your head are your eyes", this particular user has called those his "orbs" for the last 40 years whippersnapper, and the rest of the world should conform to his nomenclature.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @01:07PM (#23937169)

    Flipping through the channels is gonna get ugly.

  • I usually walk up to the TV and use my hands.
  • The 9th person in the test sneezed and the television exploded.
  • When i am bored it will speed up the tape so the professor sounds like the chipmunks ... this might actually have worked with my chemistry professor :)

    He always reminded me of the adults in a Peanuts video anyways.....

  • by jalet (36114)

    if I put my finger in my nose, does it understand that I want to watch some porn ?

  • "...this meant you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to avoid constantly changing the channel"

  • So not only will we be watching more TV, but we'll develop an uncontrollable twitch....

  • But copious use of the word "facial" caused the site to be blocked.
  • What if your annoying identical twin comes round and decided to rewind or fast-forward the movie your watching?
  • I read the last sentence as "Use The Force."

  • I've lost the remote plenty of times. I told my room mate that if did not change the channel that I was going to use his face to do it.

    It worked remarkably well.

  • I don't want a vcr that i am supposed to make faces at! I want to be able to give it the finger and have it know what i mean - that would be nifty.

  • I tried using a similar input device on my computer, but whenever I showed it my face, the computer would crash.

    - RG>

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