In Your Face!

I mentioned in an earlier post that researchers from the University of Houston gave a talk this past weekend at Sun’s HPC Consortium meeting in Florida about remote sensing of a person’s physiological and mental state. I didn’t realize at the time that these technologies would be demo’ed in the Sun booth at Supercomputing ’06.

I tried the infrared imaging first. There are three pieces of information that can be derived from analysis of infrared video. First, if your carotid artery (side of neck) can be imaged over time, your pulse rate can be determined. Second, if your nostrils can be imaged, then your breathing rate can be detected. I was surprised how strong and easily detected this signal is: the nostrils turn black when inhaling and red/orange when exhaling–like two lighthouse flashing in the distance. And, third, your stress level can be assessed by monitoring the temperature of the proximal regions of your eye sockets.

Me: Inhaling and apparently a little stressed though it’s hard to tell with the cool shades

Another demo used two cameras and a flash to capture stereo images of show attendees. The two views are used to compute facial 3D geometry and create a polygon model. Once the face has been modeled, a database is searched to find matches with earlier scans. I was impressed with how fast this ran and with how accurate it was. One thing did seem to confuse it though: reflections on my glasses prevented good imaging near my eyes and usually resulted in a search failure. You can see a little of the reflection effect below.

Polygonal Man


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