Face it, no matter how intriguing or brilliant your college professor’s lecture on molecular thermodynamics or Balzac may be, at some point boredom will envelop your soul.
Wei Xiaoyong, a science professor at Sichuan University in China, knows this. That’s why he’s using facial recognition technology on his own students, determining exactly who’s day-dreaming about grabbing a beer after class, or yearning for an afternoon outside the Ivory Tower.
Xiaoyong developed the program on his own, which categorizes student’s expressions as either “happy” or “neutral,” using a “curve” that scans every impressionable youngster’s face. If it sounds like a weird bit of voyeurism -- or a teacher acting too much like a cop with the help of technology -- take a breath, and give Mr. Xiaoyong a chance. He told reporters the “tool can be used for a range of social sciences, psychological work and by educational researchers.” What’s more, the program allows Xiaoyong to judge his own performance: If he gets a room full of deadpan stares, he’ll know when to move onto a different topic, or perhaps perform a magic trick or tell a knock-knock joke.