SUNY Poly’s Dr. Michael Reale Begins AI Technology Research to Measure Student Interest Levels in the Classroom

SUNY Poly’s Dr. Michael Reale Begins AI Technology Research to Measure Student Interest Levels in the Classroom

Monday, February 17, 2020 - 10:09
SUNY Poly Faculty in the News
Research News

UTICA - The levels of interest among SUNY Poly students in Dr. Michael Reale’s computer science classes may soon actually be measured by artificial intelligence, with data recording and testing to develop system software already underway. 

Dr. Reale, whose “Real-Time, Automatic Facial Expression Recognition in Mixed Reality Environments for Enhancing Education” seed grant was approved last year, has purchased equipment to begin the research. Dr. Ibrahim Yucel, Associate Professor of Communication and Information Design and Interactive Media and Game Design, is a co-principal investigator (PI) for the grant. 

According to Dr. Reale, the goal of this effort is to incorporate automatic facial expression recognition into augmented reality in order to better help those who may not speak up when they may be confused or don’t understand course material. By being better aware of such cues, it may allow professors to improve overall student success. The diagnostic information would likely be analyzed and recorded by the device and sent directly to the instructor. 

“Students do not always convey to the professor, for multiple reasons, that they’re having problems or issues,” said Dr. Reale. “The nice thing about this is that it would provide feedback to the professor in such a way that their privacy isn’t sacrificed.”

How would it work? Each student would be provided with a unique headset. Dr. Reale explained that, “Basically, there would be cameras that are external to the device and cameras inside of the headset itself that would detect certain facial expressions, leading to the creation of an alert. The professor could have a phone app and might see the alert coming. The hope would be this would give feedback, and adjustments to the lesson could be made accordingly. This could also open up opportunities for remote teaching as well.”

Both graduate and undergraduate students are assisting with the recording of the database as well as the software implementation.


About SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly)
SUNY Poly is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem. SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering, as well as cutting-edge nanobioscience programs at its Albany campus, and undergraduate and graduate degrees in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies; professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing; and arts and sciences, including natural sciences, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences at its Utica campus; thriving athletic, recreational, and cultural programs, events, and activities complement the campus experience. As the world’s most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY Poly boasts billions of dollars in high-tech investments and hundreds of corporate partners since its inception. For information visit