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Scientists clone facial expressions

1st June 2009

Scientists have developed a new way of cloning facial expressions, which they claim will help better understand what influences human’s behaviour when they communicate with each other.

Research published in the journal Language and Speech outlines the new technique which tracks facial expressions and head movements during a video conference. It maps these movements to models ? producing a ‘cloned’ face.

The authors claim the e movements can be manipulated live to alter the apparent expressiveness, identity, race, or even gender of a talker.

The new cloning technique is already being used by psychologists to challenge pre-conceived assumptions about how humans behave during conversations.

For example, people tend to move their head differently when talking with a woman as opposed to a man.

The new technique shows the difference is less to do with the appearance of the conversational partner, but more to do with the way they move.

Commenting on the results, Dr Theobald, from the UEA’s School of Computing Sciences, said: “Spoken words are supplemented with non-verbal visual cues to enhance the meaning of what we are saying, signify our emotional state, or provide feedback during a face-to-face conversation.

“This exciting new technology allows us to manipulate faces in this way for the first time.”

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