By Hillary Kleck
Ah, the power of a smile. It’s such an easy way to share your happiness, but have you considered how someone who is blind cannot see your smile, and therefore doesn’t enjoy those immediate emotions from knowing someone is smiling at them? Until now, people without sight could only sense a smile through the sound of your voice or along with a laugh.
The new app, released by Listerine® UK along with help from the RNIB organization, is properly named the “Smile Detector App” and allows users to “feel a smile” using the haptic feedback of their phone. It simply uses the phone’s camera and app’s facial recognition technology to detect a smile on a person’s face who is in its view. It then notifies the user with a sound alert and/or a vibration, thus allowing the user to instantly “feel” the warm sentiment of receiving a smile from a loved one, a friend or even a stranger. Users can even switch to the front camera of their phone to detect their very own smile!
Listerine® UK released the YouTube Video “Feel Every Smile. Your Smile is More Powerful Than You Think,” that features people with visual impairments discussing what it’s like to not be able to see a smile, and then capturing their reactions as they use the app to “feel” their own smiles and those of others in the room. The blind aunt’s reaction to knowing her toddler nephew was smiling at her was enough to bring tears of joy to our eyes!
The Smile Detector App is a free download for Android on the Google Play Store, however it is not currently available in the US Android or iTunes Store. It is available in other countries including the UK and South African iTunes App Stores.