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Real-time head nod and shake detection for continuous human affect recognition

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  • Machine Learning
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Human Affect Recognition
  • Non-Verbal Communication
  • Body Language
  • Gesture Recognition
  • Communication
  • Computer Science


Human affect recognition is the field of study associated with using automatic techniques to identify human emotion or human affective state. A person’s affective states is often communicated non-verbally through body language. A large part of human body language communication is the use of head gestures. Almost all cultures use subtle head movements to convey meaning. Two of the most common and distinct head gestures are the head nod and the head shake gestures. In this paper we present a robust system to automatically detect head nod and shakes. We employ the Microsoft Kinect and utilise discrete Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) as the backbone to a to a machine learning based classifier within the system. The system achieves 86% accuracy on test datasets and results are provided.

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