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Face-Reading System Watches You Watching Ads


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A woman watching multiple screens of facial expressions.

A new system assesses how viewers respond to video content by monitoring their facial expressions.

Credit: Yuriko Nakao/Reuters

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab have developed a system that could tell advertisers how well their ads are being received in the real world. The system is designed to assess how muscles in the face move in response to watching a video.

The team collected more than 3,200 videos of people watching ads, and asked them to rate the commercials. The researchers also trained an algorithm on the mouth area of viewers to gauge how much they were smiling throughout each advertisement, tracked the smile intensity during the video, and then had the software predict which ads the viewer most enjoys.

During tests, the system made correct predictions more than 75 percent of the time.

Advertisers trying to reach potential customers online could find the system very helpful, says the Australian National University's Abhinav Dhall.

The researchers note the system eventually could be used to personalize advertisements for viewers.

From New Scientist
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