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Usable and Fast Interactive Mental Face Reconstruction

Florian Strohm, Mihai Bâce, Andreas Bulling

Proc. ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST), pp. 1–15, 2023.


We introduce an end-to-end interactive system for mental face reconstruction – the challenging task of visually reconstructing a face image a person only has in their mind. In contrast to existing methods that suffer from low usability and high mental load, our approach only requires the user to rank images over multiple iterations according to the perceived similarity with their mental image. Based on these rankings, our mental face reconstruction system extracts image features in each iteration, combines them into a joint feature vector, and then uses a generative model to visually reconstruct the mental image. To avoid the need for collecting large amounts of human training data, we further propose a computational user model that can simulate human ranking behaviour using data from an online crowd-sourcing study (N=215). Results from a 12-participant user study show that our method can reconstruct mental images that are visually similar to existing approaches but has significantly higher usability, lower perceived workload, and is 40% faster. In addition, results from a third 22-participant lineup study in which we validated our reconstructions on a face ranking task show a identification rate of 55.3%, which is in line with prior work. These results represent an important step towards new interactive intelligent systems that can robustly and effortlessly reconstruct a user’s mental image.



@inproceedings{strohm23_uist, author = {Strohm, Florian and B{\^a}ce, Mihai and Bulling, Andreas}, title = {Usable and Fast Interactive Mental Face Reconstruction}, booktitle = {Proc. ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST)}, year = {2023}, pages = {1--15}, doi = {} }