Tag Archives: Overweight

But is it really Gina?

I’m well aware that weight loss, ageing and remodelled or drawn-on eyebrows can mess up our natural face recognition abilities, but even though, I’m not 100% convinced the lady in the photos is really the Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart. I feel that the lady in the photo has quite a different personality than Rinehart, kinder but perhaps not as canny.

If this lady is the real Gina, I’m sure she’s had work done on her face, and in my opinion, her unique personality can no longer be seen in her face. I hate watching the fascinating faces of famous women all morph into that homogenous face of the older woman who has had her face done over.

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart shows off amazing weight loss. Daily Telegraph. July 1 2016.



One way to hide your face – stack on weight

The Australian politician Joe Hockey has lost a lot of weight in the last year, and now we are able to see the full character and structure in his face. I think he does look a bit older without the chubbiness, but at the same time I think his appearance is now more like a person to be taken seriously. In my opinion the full emergence of Hockey’s facial features from behind a layer of padding highlights an issue that facial recognition technology researchers need to consider – the issue of excess weight or obesity altering facial appearance and making face recognition more difficult (because it makes faces more generic) or more likely to give a false negative (when done across a range of weight gain or weight loss in the same person). These days obesity and also the dramatic loss of large amounts of weight from gastric surgery are more common than ever, so these factors have an increasing impact on face recognition. The visual effect of weight loss on a face is a bit like looking at a coastline at low tide. It might be the same land but it isn’t the same scene.

Interesting blog post, video and journal paper about automatic 3D reconstruction of faces from a single image, and more

There are obvious applications for this technology to facial recognition. It appears to be the product of research by Volker Blanz and Thomas Vetter from the Max-Planck-Institut f¨ur biologische Kybernetik. I love the way that the faces can be morphed into different levels of fat, gender and facial expressions. One thing that strikes me as odd about this research is that the facial expression that is supposed to be a frown does not look like what I’d call a frown. To my eye it looks more like the owner of the face has just been poked in an impolite place. There’s a shade of discomfort and shock in those frowns. Perhaps this is a reflection of a subtle cultural difference in the meaning of the term “frown”.




Hidden taste disorders in Australian children a public health crisis?

In this blog I have written about a number of different disorders of perception that can go undiagnosed, and here is another one. Taste disorders are the inability to properly identify one or more of the tastes sweet, salty, bitter, umami (savoury) or sour. I know that more complex tastes are percieved by the sense of smell, so loss of the ability to percieve those would presumably not be a taste disorder, but a smell disorder of which there are a number of different types. According to the interesting ABC News article cited below taste disorders can be caused by a number of different medical conditions including  Bell’s palsy, renal failure, diabetes and middle ear infections. It is suggested that taste disorders can cause obesity, so I imagine that a nasty feedback loop could develop, with obesity causing diabetes, the diabetes causing a taste disorder, and the taste disorder making the obesity worse which makes the diabetes worse etc etc. Serious stuff! It appears that taste and smell disorders can both be symptoms of diseases, so if you find that your perception of the world of smells or tastes has altered, it might be a good idea to see your doctor about it.

Michael Edwards Taste disorders linked to childhood obesity. ABC News. Updated April 18, 2011. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/04/18/3194146.htm

National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Taste Disorders http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/smelltaste/taste.html

The saddest face of the week

I still see in my mind’s eye the face of a man who served me in a take-away food shop at a bit before noon a few days ago. I could see that somewhere he had a quite long, narrow face, but it was being swallowed up by a heavy, cumbersome and unattractive layer of excess weight. That wasn’t the reason why this face grabbed my attention – it was the look of a miserable man feeling overcome by stress or maybe physical discomfort that I can’t forget. It was the beginning of the busiest part of the day, he needed a shave, and he had withdrawn from any type of social contact. I do hope the rest of his week has been a much happier time.