• Chinese lecturer uses facial-recognition technology to assess students’ boredom

A university lecturer in China has developed an innovative way of using facial-recognition technology to assess how interested students are in his classes

Science professor Wei Xiaoyong at Sichuan University has created a ‘face-reader’ which assesses to what extent students are feeling ‘happy’ or ‘neutral’. Professor Wei then uses this data to determine if his students are bored or engaged.

He explained: “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. 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?”

Professor Wei first started using facial-recognition technology five years ago as a way to speed up student registration. He found taking a traditional register “boring and time consuming” and found that using facial-recognition technology made the whole process easier.

This way of registering attendance is now in use in universities across China and Professor Wei hopes that his reader of emotions may eventually come into mainstream use.

He commented: “It can be used for a range of social sciences, psychological work and by educational researchers.”