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Incendiary reflection mirror arouses emotions by subtly varying facial expressions
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Incendiary reflection mirror arouses emotions by subtly varying facial expressions

At the University of Tokyo, the Hirose-Tanikawa Lab is doing R&D on a system that virtually creates and affects people's emotional states.

"Here, we're exhibiting a system like a mirror. But in this mirror, the expression reflected is different from your actual expression. For example, if you look in the mirror with your usual expression, it can reflect you with a laughing expression, or a sad expression. In line with that expression, your emotional state may change - seeing the laughing expression may make you feel more positive, or seeing the sad expression may make you feel more negative. So, this system affects people's emotional states, as a result of such expressions."

"The system consists of a display and a camera. The camera takes videos of people, obtains face shots, and creates estimates of parts of the face. Those parts are slightly distorted. For example, in a laughing expression, features in the cheeks and at the corners of the mouth are emphasized. So, the system manipulates those two points, to create an expression that shows a happy feeling. In the case of a sad expression, the system manipulates the eyebrows, eyelids, and corners of the mouth, to show a sad feeling."

"Here, the expression is only changed slightly. If it's changed a lot, people think the expression isn't theirs, so it doesn't lead to a change of feelings. On the contrary, people find it unpleasant, or think the reflection isn't them. So, we only change the expression in a subtle way, which lets people think that they themselves have changed."

"For example, this system could be installed in stores' changing rooms, to make things look nicer when people try them on. It could also be used by people with depression, to stimulate more positive feelings."

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