A Chinese university lecturer is using facial-recognition technology on his students to help determine the level of interest in his classes, a tool he said could be used in wider education.
Science professor Wei Xiaoyong developed the new “face reader” to identify emotions which suggest if students are bored or stimulated.
His technique produces a “curve” for each student showing how much they are either “happy” or “neutral”, and that data can indicate whether they are bored, he said.
“When 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 students’ attention,” Professor Wei told The Telegraph.
“Then you can ask whether this is a good way to teach that content? Or if this content is OK for the students in that class?”
The lecturer at Sichuan University, in the south-western city of Chengdu, first started using face-tracking devices about five years ago as a means of taking the daily register of attendance.
He said he had often forget to check for attendees when he started teaching at the University, so he sought a less “boring or time-consuming” method to find out if his students were present.
Prof Wei has passed that technique on to several friends and colleagues who teach at universities across China, and he now hopes his more recent ‘emotion-analysing proto-type’ could be put to wider use.
“It can be used for a range of social sciences, psychological work and by educational researchers,” he said.
The use of facial recognition is becoming increasingly common in China. Uber introduced the technology into its operations in the country in April – in what the company said was a first for the global ride-hailing industry.
Last year China unveiled the world’s first facial recognition ATM, which backers said would “ensure the greater security of card owners".
Telegraph Media Group Limited