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Summer Science Exhibition 2011

Facial perception









The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG


Facing up to faces: perception from brains to robots

Your brain processes lots of tiny and subtle clues about faces whenever you interact with others. Could robots and computers learn to do the same thing?

Face it, faces matter. They are windows to our emotions and identities. At this exhibit you can explore how scientists are trying to understand how the brain understands faces and you can help scientists create the next generation of life-changing software and robots.

How does it work?

There are parts of the human brain that scientists believe are specifically concerned with processing faces. If we can understand this part of the brain, in particular how moving faces and emotional expressions are processed, then we can start to build computer systems that mimic this useful ability.

If computer systems like these are built, then they might be used in robots to allow them to recognise faces and facial expressions.These robots could respond to people’s social cues, allowing new and useful technologies to be built.

This exciting scientific approach of using biology to build better technology calls for a range of different types of experts like psychologists and computer scientists to work together to explore new ways to create tomorrow’s gadgets, gizmos and applications.

See all exhibits from 2011


The video below demonstrates some of the science of this exhibit. The first shows movement from the face on the left is transferred to the face on the right.

Facial perception The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK