Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Prabir Bhattacharya, Canada Research Chair in Information Systems, or at least his computer, might.

For the last three years, Bhattacharya (Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering) and graduate student, Abu Sayeed Sohail, have been working to develop a computer vision system that detects and classifies human facial expressions.

The results of their research to date were recently published by Verlag Dr. Müller in Classification of Human Facial Expression: A Prospective Application of Image Processing and Machine Learning (2008).

Why would you want to teach a machine to know if someone were happy or sad?
As Bhattacharya explained, Japanese banks have been using computers to judge customer mood for quite some time.

Small digital cameras snap photos of each face entering the bank, sending them through an internal network to a computer where they are compared with a database of known facial expressions. By examining details like the lift of the lips and the position of the eyebrows, the computer can make a pretty good guess about whether the customer is happy, tired, angry or sad.

Entire article is here.