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Smartphone App Tracks Students' Class Attendance Automatically

By Missouri S&T News

February 13, 2015

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Facial-recognition algorithms power a new smartphone app that will enable college instructors to take classroom attendance more effectively and efficiently.

Students will no longer be able to sign in for a friend who did not make it to class, says Missouri University of Science & Technology professor Zhaozheng Yin.

The app works by moving the smartphone in a sweeping motion across the room and taking a few seconds of video to capture all students present. The initial video is stored and then is used to compare subsequent classes, enabling the app to automatically record attendance.

Yin developed the original facial-recognition algorithms with student Xunxiang Mao. "In the future product, this can be integrated with learning-management systems, and parents can monitor them," Yin says.

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps has provided Yin with a $50,000-grant to broaden the research of a previous NSF grant to investigate social intelligent computing, and the professor is exploring other potential applications for the facial-recognition algorithms.

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