Researchers from Cornell University have created an earphone system that can track a wearer’s facial expressions even when they’re wearing a mask. C-Face can monitor cheek contours and convert the wearer’s expression into an emoji. That could allow people to, for instance, convey their emotions during group calls without having to turn on their webcam.
“This device is simpler, less obtrusive and more capable than any existing ear-mounted wearable technologies for tracking facial expressions,” Cheng Zhang, director of Cornell’s SciFi Lab and senior author of a paper on C-Face, said in a statement. “In previous wearable technology aiming to recognize facial expressions, most solutions needed to attach sensors on the face and even with so much instrumentation, they could only recognize a limited set of discrete facial expressions.”
The earphone uses two RGB cameras that are positioned below each ear. They can record changes in cheek contours when the wearer’s