I’ve seen my fair share of extraneous inventions — from automatic toothbrushes to bulletproof skateboards. While they may seem somewhat pointless, they are also incredibly fascinating. In line with these high-tech novelty items is the Hyperface, an AI mask that visually communicates human emotions.
The Hyperface is worn like a visor, but includes a transparent screen to flip in front of the eyes. A screen at the top of the visor reflects an image onto the one over the wearer’s eyes, making it look like a digital face. Someone looking at the wearer would see a pair of digital eyes staring back at them, which change based on the wearer’s facial expressions.
How does the Hyperface analyze what its wearer is feeling? Simple — a secret algorithm. Creator Eun Kyung Shin argues that the technology can even tell when you are interested in someone (or not).
Shin wanted the device to display a person’s emotions as closely as possible. She refers to faces we normally put on in public as ‘social masks,’ especially when people deal with intense situations.
Is the device futile? That depends. While it aims to help with social anxiety, it seems that Hyperface would also attract unwanted attention. It’s not every day you wear a digital face.