We have seen some pretty interesting web widgets from Microsoft that are capable of analyzing a photo and returning information about people in the photos based on their faces. These have ranged from guessing a person's age, gender, to being "Twins or Not", and most recently, facial hair rating.
Today, Microsoft is adding a new capability to their face APIs, this time designed to rate emotion. Based on a user's face, the software will detect and rate their expression based on 8 emotions on a scale of 0 to 1. Microsoft provides a number of use cases, especially in the consumer industry, like rating a peoples reactions to advertisements. We took it for a brief test drive, which you can see in the images below. You can also try it out on your own photos here.
These facial recognition and processing algorithms are developed by Microsoft's Project Oxford team using Machine Learning and AI. Since many small developers don't have access to these resources, they are releasing these in a tool set to allow developers to be able to take advantage of these capabilities in their own apps.
These capabilities range from intelligent spell checkers that recognize slang and common grammatical errors like using the right 'their, there, they're' based on sentence structure. Also included is processing used in Microsoft's own Hyperlapse software to stabilize video and track motion.
There is also a number of speech recognition and processing capabilities ranging from identifying a particular person's voice for use in security applications to filtering out background noise in loud environments. The software also improves voice recognition for non-native speakers and people with speech disabilities.
These tools will become available as we approach the end of 2015 in a free trial beta form. You can read more about these capabilities on Microsoft's blog.