As any flight attendant or waiter knows, it can be exhausting to keep a friendly smile plastered on your face for hours on end--especially when customers turn grouchy. And looking friendly can be even harder for those of us cursed with a "b*tchy resting face."
But now a researcher at Tsukuba University in Japan, Dr. Hirotaka Osawa, thinks he has a solution: don a pair of his freaky-deaky robotic eyes and they'll fake your emotions for you. Just check them out in the following video. (Story continues below).
The lenses of the new "wearable eyes," called AgencyGlass, display a pair of virtual eyeballs that can move back and forth, up and down. They help the wearer maintain proper eye contact with others by using an external camera to detect faces and a gyroscope and accelerometer to sense motion. They also blink, and glance upward to simulate a "thoughtful expression."
Aside from helping college students get away with taking secret naps in class, Osawa believes his device may help relieve people's "emotional labor," the enthusiasm and set of proper emotional responses required in many service jobs. Since engineers use robots to extend our physical abilities and enhance our intellect, Osawa wanted to create a technology that could enhance our social skills too, he said.
But the new technology is not without its critics. Some blast it for being deceptive, and others say it's an example of how our relationship with technology can go awry.
As Simon Head, author of Mindless: Why Smarter Machines Are Making Dumber Humans, quipped in an email to The Huffington Post, "Why not a wearable face and a wearable voice so that we can vegetate in an inert stupor while our cyborg self deals with the world on our behalf?"
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.