Postgraduate Research &
Innovation Symposium (PRIS)

Combining local descriptors and clustering methods for human emotion recognition

The Postgraduate Research and Innovation Symposium is a platform to showcase the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science’s research.

Antoine Badi Mame is a Cameroon born researcher from the humble town of Ngaoundéré. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Computer Engineering. He had an early start in formal education at the age of three.

He arrived in South Africa two years after completing his matric, where he studied for a four-year degree in Computer Engineering at UKZN.  He was awarded two Dean’s Commendations and several distinctions (Certificates of Merit) throughout his degree. ‘For my first and second years, I got awarded two scholarships due to my excellent academic performance. In my third year of study, the University identified me as part of the top 15% of achievers within my course. In the same year, I received invitations to join the IEEE Honour Society and the Golden Key society,’ explained Badi Mame.

Inspired from a young age by his interest in artificial intelligence (AI) and how it was portrayed in movies as a futuristic technology that could enable robots to take over the world, Badi Mame decided to pursue his studies in Computer Engineering. ‘Studying computer engineering has shown me that AI is already here and has many practical applications. My interest in AI and human-computer interactions has led me to believe that this topic is the perfect match for me,’ he marveled.

Badi Mame’s master’s research topic is ‘Combining local descriptors and clustering methods for human emotion recognition’.  It involves using Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence to read facial expressions, via the means of Human Emotion Recognition (HER) technology. HER is a growing area of research owing to the increased adoption of assistive technology and human-computer interactions. Some key areas of application include service robots, assistive technology for disabled people, driver safety, audience attentiveness in video conferencing, video-gaming and customer reviews. ‘My research will provide insight into the proficiency of existing approaches in relation to various contexts and specific factors that could enhance future FER systems,’ he explained.

‘One of my dreams is to have a positive impact on the world,’ said Badi Mame.  His passion never to stop learning and the prospect of using his research to solve real problems keeps him going.

Words: Samantha Ngcongo