Getting that perfect picture has always been a problem. There are books and courses dedicated to the art of taking one, but what if you don't have time for all that? Some cameras detect smiles and wait to take pictures until the time is perfect, other cameras take a few photos then run a quick facial recognition routine on them to determine which one had the most smiles. But compared to those techniques, Sony's Happy Face technology certainly seems the most impressive, at least on paper.
The idea behind the Happy Face technology is simple: The camera can take existing photos and retouch them so that the subject(s) appear to be smiling. Think of it as a sort of automated Photoshop routine that takes place inside the camera. If you happen to have any Goth friends, a Happy Face retouch will certainly annoy them to no end.
The only hitch is that it only modifies the mouth, so the rest of the face doesn't appear to change. The results of the retouches can be a bit unnerving at times according to the Wall Street Journal's Katherine Boehret:
"Sony's Happy Face Retouch feature digitally changes facial expressions into smiles, but all it did was make me look unnatural and awkward.”
After seeing her picture in the upper left hand corner of this story, we know what you're thinking; She looked unnatural and awkward before the retouch too.
She does have a point, however. The current implementation of Happy Face is a great first step, but it has a long ways to go before it can make glamour photos out of frowning friends.