Digital semeiotics

The face is the pre-eminent channel of communication among humans: it is a mirror of status, emotions, mood. This is the base principle of Medical Semeiotics, which looks at the face as a revealer of the healthy status of an individual, through a combination of physical signs (e.g., skin colour, subcutaneous fat) and facial expressions. Medical Semeiotics dates back as far as Aristotle's time; nevertheless it is still used by medical practitioners today, who rely on their ability to read the face of patients to steer the medical examination and decide on diagnostic investigations.
Researchers at the Signals and Images lab of ISTI had the ambitious goal of shifting Medical Semeiotics to the digital realm. In the framework of FP7 project SEMEOTICONS, they translated the semeiotic face code into computational descriptors and measures, automatically extracted from videos, images, and 3D scans of the human face. In particular, SEMEOTICONS addressed signs related to cardio-metabolic risk as cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality worldwide. SEMEOTICONS brougth semeiotic analysis closer to everyday life, ie, from the surgery to the home, the gym, the pharmacy, etc. This might enable people to self-assess and self-monitor the status of their well-being over time.
A multisensory platform in the form of an interactive smart mirror, called the Wize Mirror, was developed (Fig. 1). It seamlessly integrates contactless sensors (3D optical sensors, multispectral cameras, gas detection sensors) with a user-friendly touch-screen interface. The Wize Mirror was designed to fit into daily-life settings, by maximizing non-invasiveness and natural interaction modalities, according to the Ambient Intelligence paradigm.