IOWA CITY, Ia. — Bill Hedgcock knows it sounds a little creepy.
Tucked into the white ceiling tiles, the ceiling camera he had installed at the Pappajohn Business Building at the University of Iowa scans the faces of all who pass under it and instantly calculates their moods — collecting readings for joy, frustration, confusion, fear, anger and sadness.
“We nicknamed it ‘the creepy study,’ because we just wanted to be out about it, just so everyone’s aware,” said Hedgcock, an associate professor of marketing. “It sounds creepy.”
The facial encoding data is part of a larger student research project underway in the Tippie College of Business that uses automated technology to read emotions by measuring slight movements in the facial muscles, such as a movement of the eyebrow or a widening of a lip.