May 18 - Palestinian students in Hebron say they have designed a software program that can measure a person's emotions. Ethan Bilby reports.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is looking jolly. But Bush is upset or maybe just confused? Students at the Palestine Polytechnic University in the West Bank are finding out - using a new computer programme they've devised as part of their studies. It detects feelings from facial expressions and muscle movements. Abdel Fatah is the project's supervisor. (SOUNDBITE) (ARABIC) SUPERVISOR, ABDEL FATAH NAJAR, SAYING: "Still photos show the emotions of humans around the world. And smiles and anger are common to everyone so we are trying to recognise all these emotions." An easy task for a human being, but complicated for a machine. The students spent six months on their programme, and say it can even analyse the overall mood of a person, beyond what can be discerned from a photograph. (SOUNDBITE) (ARABIC) STUDENT ANAS OMAR SAYING: "This kind of software was already being used in Berlin but we decided to develope it - we'd like to be able to measure the age and sex of a person as well as their feelings". It's not the latest tagging app for facebook yet - but the students have high hopes for their software. They are now seeking funds to develop it further and are working on making it downloadable onto mobile phones. Former Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat would probably have been impressed - he's clearly not in this photo. Ethan Bilby, Reuters