Software can detect your pain level just by looking

Remember Baymax’s pain scale in Big Hero 6? In the real world, machines might not even need to ask whether or not you’re hurting — they’ll already know. UC San Diego researchers have developed a computer vision algorithm that can gauge your pain levels by looking at your facial expressions. If you’re wincing, for example, you’re probably in more agony than you are if you’re just furrowing your brow. The code isn’t as good as detecting your pain as your parents (who’ve had years of experience), but it’s up to the level of an astute nurse.

As you might imagine, the technology could be very helpful in the hospital and beyond. Nurses could use it to tell whether or not you’re getting enough painkillers after surgery. Alternately, medical robots could offer treatment if they see you grimacing. Doctors could eventually refine procedures based on feedback, and you might never have to wait for a health care worker to see that you’re suffering.

Software can detect your pain level just by looking

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