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Capacitive facial movement detection for human-computer interaction to click by frowning and lifting eyebrows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-47
JournalMedical & Biological Engineering & Computing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


A capacitive facial movement detection method designed for human-computer interaction is presented. Some point-and-click interfaces use facial electromyography for clicking. The presented method provides a contactless alternative. Electrodes with no galvanic coupling to the face are used to form electric fields. Changes in the electric fields due to facial movements are detected by measuring capacitances between the electrodes. A prototype device for measuring a capacitance signal affected by frowning and lifting eyebrows was constructed. A commercial integrated circuit for capacitive touch sensors is used in the measurement. The applied movement detection algorithm uses an adaptive approach to provide operation capability in noisy and dynamic environments. Experimentation with 10 test subjects proved that under controlled circumstances the movements are detected with good efficiency, but characterizing the movements into frowns and eyebrow lifts is more problematic. Integration with a two-dimensional pointing solution and further experiments are still required.

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