Have you ever had a good conversation on the phone with someone and by the tone of their voice you can tell that they are smiling? Scientists and engineers at Cornell University have made it even easier to share your smile on the phone, even without video chat. They have developed an earpiece that can trace a person’s facial expressions and the uses for such a technology is extensive. For instance, the movie industry has long had green screens and sensor rigged suits that can track the actor’s every move. However, tracking facial expressions and translating it into something animated, like an emoji, is new technology.
While this is not the first of this kind of technology, it is certainly the most advanced and compact. The earphones can sense one’s facial structure and identify 42 facial feature points that are then converted to the position and form of one’s mouth, eyes, and eyebrow. It then takes this information and transforms it into a specific emoji that is representative of the user’s face. However, as alluded to earlier, this is just the tip of the iceberg with this kind of tech—whether it’s for animated movies, emojis, or video games. Having actual realistic avatars in video games or other online platforms can convey a person’s true facial expressions.
With technology so flexible and still in developmental stages, it will be interesting to see which direction it will go.