Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Mask


We often identify people using face images. This is true in occupational settings such as passport control as well as in everyday social environments. Mapping between images and identities assumes that facial appearance is stable within certain bounds. For example, a person’s apparent age, gender and ethnicity change slowly, if at all. It also assumes that deliberate changes beyond these bounds (i.e., disguises) would be easy to spot. Hyper-realistic face masks overturn these assumptions by allowing the wearer to look like an entirely different person. If unnoticed, these masks break the link between facial appearance and personal identity, with clear implications for applied face recognition. However, to date, no one has assessed the realism of these masks, or specified conditions under which they may be accepted as real faces. Herein, we examined incidental detection of unexpected but attended hyper-realistic masks in both photographic and live presentations. Experiment 1 (UK; n = 60) revealed no evidence for overt detection of hyper-realistic masks among real face photos, and little evidence of covert detection. Experiment 2 (Japan; n = 60) extended these findings to different masks, mask-wearers and participant pools. In Experiment 3 (UK and Japan; n = 407), passers-by failed to notice that a live confederate was wearing a hyper-realistic mask and showed limited evidence of covert detection, even at close viewing distance (5 vs. 20 m). Across all of these studies, viewers accepted hyper-realistic masks as real faces. Specific countermeasures will be required if detection rates are to be improved.

Concepts: Face transplant, Identity, Mask


A Noh mask worn by expert actors when performing on a Japanese traditional Noh drama is suggested to convey countless different facial expressions according to different angles of head/body orientation. The present study addressed the question of how different facial parts of a Noh mask, including the eyebrows, the eyes, and the mouth, may contribute to different emotional expressions. Both experimental situations of active creation and passive recognition of emotional facial expressions were introduced.

Concepts: Time, Emotional expression, Facial expression, Noh, Drama, Mask, Jeffrey Combs, Kabuki


When a plaid object is presented, the visual system decomposes it into its constituting orientation primitives and integrates them at later processing stages. The present study reveals the time course of this process by applying meta- and paracontrast masking to both simple oriented and plaid gratings. With various stimulus onset asynchronies (SOA) between target gratings and surrounding mask annuli, subjects were asked to identify whether targets were simple gratings collinear to the masks, orthogonal to the masks, plaid, or whether no target was presented. The resulting time courses for each type of stimulus confusion showed that metacontrast peaked when orientation primitives had already begun to be integrated into one object, indicated by a dominance of “no target” responses given to plaid stimuli at SOAs around 70 ms. At SOAs around 10 to 30 ms masking also had a significant impact but acted on separable components, indicated by a dominance of “orthogonal” responses given plaid stimuli. Probability summation of “no target” responses given simple gratings revealed that only at shorter SOAs performance for plaid stimuli could be predicted assuming independent features but not at SOAs of at 50-70 ms. We discuss in how far these results could also be explained by the dynamics of cross-orientation suppression (COS) and how they might relate to the process of feature integration in plaids.

Concepts: Present, Time, Integral, Target Corporation, Surface normal, Mask, Masks, Service-oriented architecture


Fibroglandular tissue may mask breast cancers, thereby reducing the sensitivity of mammography. Here, we investigate methods for identification of women at high risk of a masked tumor, who could benefit from additional imaging.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Oncology, Volume, Type I and type II errors, Mammography, Mask, Masks


This paper proposes a novel local feature descriptor, Local Directional Number Pattern (LDN), for face analysis: face and expression recognition. LDN encodes the directional information of the faces textures (i.e., the textures structure) in a compact way, producing a more discriminative code than current methods. We compute the structure of each micro-pattern with the aid of a compass mask, that extracts directional information, and we encode such information using the prominent direction indexes (directional numbers) and signwhich allows us to distinguish among similar structural patterns that have different intensity transitions. We divide the face into several regions, and extract the distribution of the LDN features from them. Then, we concatenate these features into a feature vector, and we use it as a face descriptor. We perform several experiments in which our descriptor performs consistently under illumination, noise, expression, and time lapse variations. Moreover, we test our descriptor with different masks to analyze its performance in different face analysis tasks.

Concepts: Structure, Pattern, Face, Faces, Mask, Rod Stewart, Small Faces, Dean Koontz


Inexpensive cloth masks are widely used in developing countries to protect from particulate pollution albeit limited data on their efficacy exists. This study examined the efficiency of four types of masks (three types of cloth masks and one type of surgical mask) commonly worn in the developing world. Five monodispersed aerosol sphere size (30, 100, and 500 nm, and 1 and 2.5 μm) and diluted whole diesel exhaust was used to assess facemask performance. Among the three cloth mask types, a cloth mask with an exhaust valve performed best with filtration efficiency of 80-90% for the measured polystyrene latex (PSL) particle sizes. Two styles of commercially available fabric masks were the least effective with a filtration efficiency of 39-65% for PSL particles, and they performed better as the particle size increased. When the cloth masks were tested against lab-generated whole diesel particles, the filtration efficiency for three particle sizes (30, 100, and 500 nm) ranged from 15% to 57%. Standard N95 mask performance was used as a control to compare the results with cloth masks, and our results suggest that cloth masks are only marginally beneficial in protecting individuals from particles<2.5 μm. Compared with cloth masks, disposable surgical masks are more effective in reducing particulate exposure.Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology advance online publication, 17 August 2016; doi:10.1038/jes.2016.42.

Concepts: Developing country, Particulate, Air pollution, Diesel particulate matter, Soot, Mask, Masks, Surgical mask


Despite considerable effort, monaural (single-microphone) algorithms capable of increasing the intelligibility of speech in noise have remained elusive. Successful development of such an algorithm is especially important for hearing-impaired (HI) listeners, given their particular difficulty in noisy backgrounds. In the current study, an algorithm based on binary masking was developed to separate speech from noise. Unlike the ideal binary mask, which requires prior knowledge of the premixed signals, the masks used to segregate speech from noise in the current study were estimated by training the algorithm on speech not used during testing. Sentences were mixed with speech-shaped noise and with babble at various signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). Testing using normal-hearing and HI listeners indicated that intelligibility increased following processing in all conditions. These increases were larger for HI listeners, for the modulated background, and for the least-favorable SNRs. They were also often substantial, allowing several HI listeners to improve intelligibility from scores near zero to values above 70%.

Concepts: Algorithm, Machine learning, Sound, The Current, Mask, Masks, Background


Reliable quantification of white matter hyperintensities of presumed vascular origin (WMHs) is increasingly needed, given the presence of these MRI findings in patients with several neurological and vascular disorders, as well as in elderly healthy subjects. We present BIANCA (Brain Intensity AbNormality Classification Algorithm), a fully automated, supervised method for WMH detection, based on the k-nearest neighbour (k-NN) algorithm. Relative to previous k-NN based segmentation methods, BIANCA offers different options for weighting the spatial information, local spatial intensity averaging, and different options for the choice of the number and location of the training points. BIANCA is multimodal and highly flexible so that the user can adapt the tool to their protocol and specific needs. We optimised and validated BIANCA on two datasets with different MRI protocols and patient populations (a “predominantly neurodegenerative” and a “predominantly vascular” cohort). BIANCA was first optimised on a subset of images for each dataset in terms of overlap and volumetric agreement with a manually segmented WMH mask. The correlation between the volumes extracted with BIANCA (using the optimised set of options), the volumes extracted from the manual masks and visual ratings showed that BIANCA is a valid alternative to manual segmentation. The optimised set of options was then applied to the whole cohorts and the resulting WMH volume estimates showed good correlations with visual ratings and with age. Finally, we performed a reproducibility test, to evaluate the robustness of BIANCA, and compared BIANCA performance against existing methods. Our findings suggest that BIANCA, which will be freely available as part of the FSL package, is a reliable method for automated WMH segmentation in large cross-sectional cohort studies.

Concepts: Cohort study, Brain, Volume, Relative risk, Thermodynamics, Correlation and dependence, Mask, K-nearest neighbor algorithm


Although N95 filtering facepiece respirators and medical masks are commonly used for protection against respiratory infections in healthcare settings, more clinical evidence is needed to understand the optimal settings and exposure circumstances for healthcare personnel to use these devices. A lack of clinically germane research has led to equivocal, and occasionally conflicting, healthcare respiratory protection recommendations from public health organizations, professional societies, and experts.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Public health, Health, Clinical trial, Mask, Masks, Gas mask


A Noh mask, worn by expert actors during performance on the Japanese traditional Noh drama, conveys various emotional expressions despite its fixed physical properties. How does the mask change its expressions? Shadows change subtly during the actual Noh drama, which plays a key role in creating elusive artistic enchantment. We here describe evidence from two experiments regarding how attached shadows of the Noh masks influence the observers' recognition of the emotional expressions.

Concepts: Test method, Play, Noh, Drama, Mask, Kabuki, Actor, Eugene O'Neill