TR#544: A Real-Time Head Nod and Shake Detector

Ashish Kapoor and Rosalind W. Picard

To appear in: Proceedings from the Workshop on Perspective User Interfaces, November 2001

Head nods and head shakes are non-verbal gestures used often to communicate intent, emotion and to perform conversational functions. We describe a vision-based system that detects head nods and head shakes in real time and can act as a useful and basic interface to a machine. We use an infrared sensitive camera equipped with infrared LEDs to track pupils. The directions of head movements, determined using the position of pupils, are used as observations by a discrete Hidden Markov Model (HMM) based pattern analyzer to detect when a head nod/shake occurs. The system is trained and tested on natural data from ten users gathered in the presence of varied lighting and varied facial expressions. The system as described achieves a real time recognition accuracy of 78.46% on the test dataset.

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