Teacher uses facial recognition technology to see if students are BORED

Teacher uses facial recognition technology to see if students are BOREDStudents arenít the only ones studying in a classroom at Sichuan University, China.

Science professor Wei Xiaoyong has developed a new ďface readerĒ to study faces and emotions, the Telegraph reported. He first started using face-tracking devices about five years ago to log attendance. Now, he uses it to help gauge how engaged his students are.

Through video cameras strategically placed around the classroom, the software uses facial recognition technology to identify students as well as read and record their moods, according to Chinese newspaper Global Times. An algorithm detects the emotional fluctuations on each studentís face to record how happy or neutral they look.

ďWhen we correlate that kind of information to the way we teach, and we use a timeline, then you will know where you are actually attracting the studentsí attention,Ē Wei told the Telegraph.

Wei has shared his technique with other professors in universities across China and he sees it having a wide range of applications in the sciences and psychological work, as well as education reform. Theoretically, professors could revamp their teaching methods if they can figure out which aspects of their classes bore students and which keep them engaged.

The concept of Big Brother-esque classrooms isnít new. Engineers at SensorStar Labs in Queens, New York, started developing a method to study individual studentís faces in a classroom and use an algorithm to analyze their expressions, Co.Exist reported. (The research was ongoing in 2013 and SensorStar didnít respond to a request for comment regarding the current state of its work.) SensorStar co-founder Sean Montgomery argued that the idea shouldnít bother people: ďItís just what the teacher can already see with their eyes and what the teacher can already hear with their ears.Ē But that isnít enough to suppress data privacy concernsóadministrators or law enforcement could someday use the recordings ďfor purposes other than low-stakes feedback,Ē Co.Exist wrote.

In Weiís case, itís not clear whether the students are aware that their expressions are being recorded. Nor is there any word on students getting penalized for being inattentive.
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