The Future of Education: Facial Recognition in the Classroom

https://i0.wp.com/edudemic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/intel-bridge-the-gap.pngFor some time now, classroom cameras have been used to see what teachers do in the course of their lessons, and evaluate their overall effectiveness as educators. But thanks to a recent advances in facial recognition software, a system has been devised that will assess teacher effectiveness by turning the cameras around and aiming at them at the class.

It’s what’s known as EngageSense, and was developed by SensorStar Labs in Queens, New York. It begins by filming student’s faces, then applying an algorithm to assess their level of interest. And while it might sound a bit Big Brother-y, the goal is actually quite progressive. Traditional logic has it that by filming the teacher, you will know what they are doing right and wrong.

https://i0.wp.com/f.fastcompany.net/multisite_files/fastcompany/imagecache/slideshow_large/slideshow/2013/10/3018861-slide-makerfaire1.jpgThis system reverses that thinking, measuring reactions to see how the students feel and react, measuring their level of interest over time to see what works for them and what doesn’t. As SensorStar Labs co-founder Sean Montgomery put it:

This idea of adding the cameras and being able to use that information to assist teachers to improve their lessons is already underway. Where this is trying to add a little value on top of that is to make it less work for the teachers.

Montgomery also emphasized that the technology is in the research and development research and development  phase. In its current form, it uses webcams to shoot students’ faces and computer vision algorithms to analyze their gaze – measuring eye movement, the direction they are facing, and facial expressions. That, coupled with audio, can be transformed into a rough, automated metric of student engagement throughout the day.

https://i0.wp.com/endthelie.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/facial-recognition-data-points.jpgAfter a lesson, a teacher could boot up EngageSense and see, with a glance at the dashboard, when students were paying rapt attention, and at what points they became confused or distracted. Beyond that, the concept is still being refined as SensorStar Labs looks both for funding and for schools to give EngageSense a real-world trial.

The ultimate goal here is to tailor lessons so that the learning styles of all students can be addressed. And given the importance of classroom accommodation and the amount of time dedicated to ensuring individual student success, a tool like this may prove very useful. Rather than relying on logs and spreadsheets, the EngageSense employs standard computer hardware that simplifies the evaluation process over the course of days, weeks, months, and even years.

https://i0.wp.com/image.slidesharecdn.com/technologyandeducation2-110922110134-phpapp01/95/slide-1-728.jpgAt the present time, the biggest obstacle would definitely be privacy concerns. While the software is designed for engaging student interest right now, it would not be difficult at all to imagine the same technology applied to police interrogations, security footage, or public surveillance.

One way to assuage these concerns in the classroomstudents, according to Montgomery, is to make the entire process voluntary. Much in the same way that smartphone apps ask permission to access your GPS or other personal data, parental consent would be needed before a child could be recorded or their data accessed and analyzed.

Sources: fastcoexist.com, labs.sensorstar.com

How to Ninja Proof a House

ninjahomeinvasionFrom the good people who brought you “How to zombie-proof a house” comes the latest in sensible real-estate planning. This time round, it is how you go about protecting your home from ninja intrusion. Using a full-page infographic with multiple panels, which you can check out here, all the countermeasures you will need to know are listed.

Combining ancient know-how with modern technology, these counter-measures include:

  • Squeaky floors
  • Security cameras
  • Fire suppression systems
  • Maze-like hallways
  • Powerful ventilation
  • High-tech locks
  • Facial recognition software
  • Smart floors
  • Gravel Yards
  • Steel walls and ceilings
  • Tall and curved outer walls

ninja.jpgWhat impresses me about all of this, aside from the time and thought dedicated to it, is how well it merges knowledge from feudal Japan with modern home defense systems. For example, feudal barons who feared assassination during Japan’s Sengoku (or “Warring States”) Period would have rooms in their fortress built with long wooden panels that would ensure they would squeak when stepped on. These were often combined with trap doors to ensure that anyone skilled enough to slip inside would find themselves in a jam quickly!

Gravel yards placed at intervals throughout their estates and round, vertical walls were also popular tricks to ensure easier detection and to give ninjas a harder time of getting inside. And of course, narrow, winding hallways also ensured that a single or group of infiltrators would have a harder time finding their way and could be ambushed when they came around a corner.

Cyber Ninja Artart, alphacoders.com
Cyber Ninja Artart, alphacoders.com

Combining all this with the latest in alarm systems, biometric locks, facial recognitions software, security cameras, environmental controls and fire sprinklers, you’ve got a pretty handy arsenal with which to fight off skilled assassins and masters of stealth. And  let’s face it, modern ninjas have no doubt updated their repertoire to take advantage of the latest in tech as well, which would most likely include night vision, thermal imaging, flashbangs, airgun grappling hooks, and possibly even knock-out gas.

Were ninjas to become a credible threat to our safety and well-being, this is undoubtedly the kind of database we would want to consult. And as we all know, ninjas are cool! When zombies go the way of vampires and witches, aka. become somewhat of a tired cliche, I’m sure these guys will be in line to become the next big craze!

Ninja Games

New Facial Recognition System for Airports

flight-display-systems_webIt’s called the See3, a new computer facial-recognition system that is likely to be making the rounds at airports in the next few years. Developed by Flight Display Systems, it is believed this technology will add a new level of protection to owners and operators concerned with aircraft security, as well as create more complete cabin services.

Based on the Linus Fast Access facial-recognition software, See3 also makes use of a of a proprietary and expanding set of algorithms. Mounted at the entrance of the aircraft, the system compares the faces of those entering the airplane with a known database and alerts the crew of the entry of one or more unauthorized people.

See3 uses nearly 100,000 values to code a face image, such as the less complex methods of inter-ocular distance, distance between nose tip and eyes, and the ratio of dimensions of the bounding box of the face. And, according to Flight Display founder and president David Gray, changes in hair style or the addition of a mustache or beard, glasses or makeup will not affect the accuracy of the system. At this point, the system’s accuracy is between 75 and 90 percent, but the company continues to add algorithms to improve on this.

However, the camera also presents opportunities to improve on a person’s overall flight experience. As Gray went on to explain, the camera is integrated into the aircraft cabin management system, and can therefore “recognize” a person via the seat camera. It then greets them by name and automatically loads their entertainment preferences, set preferred lighting and even alert the crew to the person’s meal preferences and any allergies.

Score one for personalized high-tech displays on the one hand, or Big Brother-type monitoring and HAL-like computer systems, depending on your point of view. According to Gray, the system could be available within a year’s time on certain major air carriers. No telling when the movie about a creepy AI that takes over an airplane, Space Odyssey-style, will be released. But since I called it first, I’ll be expecting royalties!

Source: AINonline.com