Google Glass tech can monitor behavior to see how others feel

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A Germany research institution adapts its facial recognition software for Google Glass, but promises to keep the data out of the cloud.

Nevermind how you’re feeling, how is the person you’re talking to feeling? A new Glassware app can help you identify a person’s gender, guess their age, and evaluate their emotional status in real-time. It won’t, however, tell you who the person is.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits has adapted its Sophisticated High-speed Object Recognition Engine (SHORE) facial recognition technology for Google’s controversial Internet-connected headset. The SHORE Glassware app is able to process video in real-time on the Glass processor. To assuage privacy concerns about tracking through facial recognition software, Fraunhofer promises to never send the data up to the cloud.

Fraunhofer said the technology took “years” to develop and uses a “highly-efficient” library of data built on the C++ programing language to analyze the human face. SHORE could be implemented so that information about the person you’re speaking to would be superimposed next to their face, helping you figure out if they’re happy or sad, male or female, young or old.

The organization intends the app to be a communication aid, used by people, for example, on the autism spectrum who may have trouble identifying emotions. Fraunhofer also points out that its app could be applied to market analyses and other more commercial uses. Glassware makers have been exploring using Glass to help peoplewith developmental differences since Google threw open the doors to Glass apps.

Fraunhofer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The SHORE app is not available for download. It’s not clear if Fraunhofer has built it into a soon-to-be-available app, or if Fraunhofer is waiting to pair the tech with an app partner. Still, the SHORE app charts a less-traveled path through privacy concerns of facial recognition so that it can still be used to help people who need it.

by Seth Rosenblatt

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