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Omron delivers real-time facial expression estimation technology

24 October 2012

Omron has developed new technology capable of estimating seven different facial expressions — happiness, surprise, fear, disgust, anger, sadness, and neutral — all in real time.

The technology offers interesting possibilities in a variety of applications. If incorporated into a communication robot, for instance, the robot could react to a user's facial expressions. The technology is also ideal for image search engines, or interactive games that respond to the facial expressions of players.

The technology combines Omron's proprietary 3D model-fitting technology and statistical classification method, which are based on a massive database of facial images that the company has accumulated over many years. The technology has up till now been used primarily to recognize individual faces, but by enhancing these technologies it has also become possible to estimate facial expressions.

Rather than relying on the detection of the shapes of individual facial parts such as the eyes and mouth, the technology estimates facial expressions based on the relative position of all facial parts, thus enabling high-speed estimation while requiring only a small amount of system memory. Since the process only requires a single facial image, real-time estimation of facial expressions is possible using not only video imagery but also still images.

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