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Vibrotactile rendering of human emotions on the manifold of facial expressions
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Applied Physics and Electronics. (Digital Media Lab.,)
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Applied Physics and Electronics.
2008 (English)In: Journal of Multimedia, ISSN 1796-2048, Vol. 3, no 3, 18-25 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Facial expressions play an important role in every day social interaction. To enhance the daily life experience for the visually impaired, we present the Facial Expression Appearance vibroTactile System (FEATS), which uses a vibrotactile chair as the social interface for the visually impaired. An array of vibrating motors are mounted spatially on the back of an office chair. The Locally Linear Embedding (LLE) algorithm is extended to compute the manifold of facial expressions, which is used to control vibration of motors to render emotions. Thus, the chair could provide the visually impaired with on-line dynamic emotion information about the person he/she is communicating with. Usability evaluation of the system is carried out. The results are encouraging and demonstrate usability for the visually impaired. The user studies show that perfect recognition accuracy of emotion type is achieved by the FEATS.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oulu, Finland: ACADEMY PUBLISHER , 2008. Vol. 3, no 3, 18-25 p.
Keyword [en]
locally linear embedding, vibrotactile interface, visually impaired, manifold of facial expressions
National Category
Signal Processing
Research subject
Signal Processing
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-20236OAI: diva2:208311
Available from: 2009-03-17 Created: 2009-03-17 Last updated: 2010-04-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Expressing emotions through vibration for perception and control
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Expressing emotions through vibration for perception and control
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Expressing emotions through vibration
Abstract [en]

This thesis addresses a challenging problem: “how to let the visually impaired ‘see’ others emotions”. We, human beings, are heavily dependent on facial expressions to express ourselves. A smile shows that the person you are talking to is pleased, amused, relieved etc. People use emotional information from facial expressions to switch between conversation topics and to determine attitudes of individuals. Missing emotional information from facial expressions and head gestures makes the visually impaired extremely difficult to interact with others in social events. To enhance the visually impaired’s social interactive ability, in this thesis we have been working on the scientific topic of ‘expressing human emotions through vibrotactile patterns’.

It is quite challenging to deliver human emotions through touch since our touch channel is very limited. We first investigated how to render emotions through a vibrator. We developed a real time “lipless” tracking system to extract dynamic emotions from the mouth and employed mobile phones as a platform for the visually impaired to perceive primary emotion types. Later on, we extended the system to render more general dynamic media signals: for example, render live football games through vibration in the mobile for improving mobile user communication and entertainment experience. To display more natural emotions (i.e. emotion type plus emotion intensity), we developed the technology to enable the visually impaired to directly interpret human emotions. This was achieved by use of machine vision techniques and vibrotactile display. The display is comprised of a ‘vibration actuators matrix’ mounted on the back of a chair and the actuators are sequentially activated to provide dynamic emotional information. The research focus has been on finding a global, analytical, and semantic representation for facial expressions to replace state of the art facial action coding systems (FACS) approach. We proposed to use the manifold of facial expressions to characterize dynamic emotions. The basic emotional expressions with increasing intensity become curves on the manifold extended from the center. The blends of emotions lie between those curves, which could be defined analytically by the positions of the main curves. The manifold is the “Braille Code” of emotions.

The developed methodology and technology has been extended for building assistive wheelchair systems to aid a specific group of disabled people, cerebral palsy or stroke patients (i.e. lacking fine motor control skills), who don’t have ability to access and control the wheelchair with conventional means, such as joystick or chin stick. The solution is to extract the manifold of the head or the tongue gestures for controlling the wheelchair. The manifold is rendered by a 2D vibration array to provide user of the wheelchair with action information from gestures and system status information, which is very important in enhancing usability of such an assistive system. Current research work not only provides a foundation stone for vibrotactile rendering system based on object localization but also a concrete step to a new dimension of human-machine interaction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, Institutionen för tillämpad fysik och elektronik, 2010. 159 p.
Digital Media Lab, ISSN 1652-6295 ; 12
Multimodal Signal Processing, Mobile Communication, Vibrotactile Rendering, Locally Linear Embedding, Object Detection, Human Facial Expression Analysis, Lip Tracking, Object Tracking, HCI, Expectation-Maximization Algorithm, Lipless Tracking, Image Analysis, Visually Impaired.
National Category
Signal Processing Computer Vision and Robotics (Autonomous Systems) Computer Science Telecommunications Information Science
Research subject
Computerized Image Analysis; Computing Science; Electronics; Systems Analysis
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-32990 (URN)978-91-7264-978-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-04-28, Naturvetarhuset, N300, Umeå universitet, Umeå, Sweden, 09:00 (English)
Taktil Video
Available from: 2010-04-07 Created: 2010-04-06 Last updated: 2010-04-20Bibliographically approved

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