Children with the neurodevelopmental disorder known as Autism often have difficulty with social interaction, in part due to an impaired ability to intuit the emotional state of other people. Researchers at Nanyang Technological University have been working on a project that may help Autistic children by augmenting their emotional recognition artificially. Dr. Cho Siu Yeung with PhD students Nguwi Yok Yen and Teoh Teik Toe of the NTU Center for Computational Intelligence describe their system in a newly published paper, "Intelligent System to Help Autistic Children Recognize Emotions". The paper is in a pay per view commercial journal rather than an open scientific publication but the abstract gives a hint at what their working on:
The system is capable of locating the face region using derivative-based filtering and recognizing facial expressions using [a] boosting classifier. The portable device is being developed to help autistic children understand the emotions of surrounding people. The portable facial expression recognizer locates the edge of the human face through Gaussian derivatives, Laplacian derivatives and filters out non-face images using Adaboost. Secondly, the feature locator finds crucial fiducial points for subsequent feature extraction and selection processing. Finally, the meaningful features are classified into the corresponding classes.
The Autism assistance device is a case-study for a more complex Neuro-Cognitive Computational Framework that has been under development since 2005 and combines visual cues such as facial expression, gestures, and posture with "understanding of emotional tags in semantic memory learning structures" and auditory cues. This more general framework could be used for other applications in machine intelligence and robotics.