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Fraunhofer develops Google Glass app that can read emotions

Researchers adapted existing facial recognition software to create app

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A German research organisation has created an app that can be used by a Google Glass wearer to identify how someone in their vicinity is feeling.

Engineers at Fraunhofer’s Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS adapted the organisation's Sophisticated High-speed Object Recognition Engine (SHORE) software to make it compatible with Google Glass.

Fraunhofer said the SHORE Glassware app anaylses a person's facial expressions through the Google Glass camera in order to determine their emotions. This information is then displayed in the user's field of vision. 

The software is also able to determine a person’s age and gender, among other things. It won't, however, tell you who the person is.

Fraunhofer said all the processing is carried out in real time by the Google Glass CPU (central processing unit), which rests on the side of the user’s head.

The institute believes the technology could be useful to people with disorders such as autism, many of whom have difficulty interpreting emotions through facial expressions.

Fraunhofer added that visually impaired people also stand to benefit from the new software as it can provide supplementary audio information about people in their surroundings.

Google Glass owners CNET said the SHORE app is not available for download so it's not clear if Fraunhofer intends to release the app soon, or whether it is waiting to partner with an app developer. 

Fraunhofer is a member of the Google Glass explorer programme, which means it had the opportunity to test the smart eyewear before it went on sale to the public.

Google Glass went on sale in the UK for £1,000 in June but the Silicon Valley internet giant has stressed that the device is still in the prototype stage.

Google has struggled to convince everyone of Glass's potential. Critics have hit out at the price, appearance and intrusive nature of Google Glass, while Mayor of London Boris Johnson asked a BBC journalist if he "really" wore "Google specs".


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