A long time ago, I worked for the Disney theme parks, and they were pretty insistent that no matter what your job was, and how unlikely it was that you’d encounter a customer, you always should have a smile on your face. After all, we were working at “the happiest place on earth,” no matter how miserable we were at our jobs. I also once had a peer at another job who always complained that I wasn’t smiling enough. I’m reasonably certain that this invention must have been created by one of these sources of pure evil from my past.
Created by Omron, the SmileScan system is designed to automatically detect the intensity of ones smile and report back on the overall quality of the facial expression. The technology monitors the corners of your mouth, how open your eyes are and other facial characteristics to boil down your smile to a score between 0 (Yellow Angry Bird) and 100 (Teri Hatcher). It even has a “smile training mode” to try and help you improve your expression.
At first, I thought this might be useful for making digital cameras that only snap pictures once subjects are smiling, and they say it could be used for rehabilitation too. But I’m betting since the system was shown at Japan’s International Hotel and Restaurant Show, that it’s really designed for some sadistic blue suits who want to make sure their employees aren’t frowning on the job. Oh joy. Just what we need – corporate smile enforcement. That just makes me frown.