Most people will agree that phone conversations are more annoying than face-to-face conversations because you can’t gauge the other person’s mood by seeing their facial expressions. This is a constant challenge for the blind, which is why Huawei has developed the “face reading” Facing Emotions application.
Created in partnership with the Polish Association of the Blind, the Android app is specially designed for use on Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro smartphone.
When the blind user talks to another person, the phone’s rear cameras scan that person’s face. Using algorithms based on artificial intelligence, the application pays special attention to features such as eyes, nose, eyebrows and mouth, and their positions in relation to each other.
Based on this data, the program would be able to discern seven basic emotions. It tells the user which of these elements the other person is displaying, representing that emotion as one of the seven corresponding musical cues. These short tunes were created by blind composer Tomasz Bilecki, with blind test subjects claiming they are easy to memorize and understand – they can be heard either through the phone’s speakers or (more quietly) via an attached earpiece.
The Facing Emotions app, which works entirely offline, can be downloaded through the Google Play Store. A 3D printed lanyard style phone holder has also been designed for use with the app, files of which can be downloaded from Shapeways.
Samsung, as well as the German Fraunhofer Institute, have both already developed their own emotion reading apps.