Design & Emotion Blog

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Fun: Emoticons made real

Computer scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have developed a way to make e-mails, instant messaging, and texts just a bit more personalized. Their software will allow people to use images of their own faces instead of the more traditional emoticons to communicate their mood.

photo_face_x220.gifAll that is needed is a single photo of the person, preferably with a neutral expression, says Xin Li, who developed the system, called Face Alive Icons. “The user can upload the image from their camera phone,” he says. Then, by keying in familiar text symbols, such as “:)” for a smile, the user automatically contorts the face to reflect his or her desired expression.

“Already, people use avatars on message boards and in other settings,” says Sheryl Brahnam, an assistant professor of computer information systems at Missouri State University, in Springfield. In many respects, she says, this system bridges the gap between emoticons and avatars.

I like the idea and the application of this technology, it can definitely be fun. On a more serious note, I think it can also open up discussion about using this technology in measurement instruments. Currently in the development of LEMTool, we are also discussing the possibilities to use visuals to express emotions. I look forward to see how applicable this technology can be for us.

[tags]emotions, emoticons, avatars, expression, emotional experience, measuring emotion[/tags]

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