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Hamlet may have been able to see through a fake smile, but it’s hard for most of us. People smile out of politeness, awkwardness or frustration, so how can we tell if a smile is real?

One project at MIT’s celebrated Media Lab aims to do just that. It began by trying to “zoom into different kinds of smiles and deconstruct them into low level facial features, and then we wondered whether it’s possible to train a computer to recognize some of the smiles automatically,” said M. Ehsan Hoque, a research assistant at the lab.

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