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Discover how your face can help science at the Science Museum

Visitors to the Science Museum are invited to take part in a fascinating experiment to study facial expressions in collaboration with researchers from Imperial College London.

During the experiment visitors will be asked to create facial expressions in front of one of the most advanced 3D cameras available. The images captured will then be combined to construct the complete facial shape of the individual. 

By taking part in Live Science members of the public will be enabling scientists to have a better understanding of how our faces move and help improve current facial recognition technology leading to benefits across society. 

‘Are your facial expressions unique?’ utilises 3D technology to develop methods that can be used in improving medical procedures, security systems and even computer games. 

The photographic technology being used in the study is unique as while a traditional 2D photograph is displayed flat, a 3dMD photograph has depth perspective allowing for measurement, assessment and 3D printing. The 3dMDface.t System provided by 3dMD Ltd consists of six cameras synchronized to record at 10 3D frames per second, providing a complete facial shape to an accuracy level of better than 200 microns. 

The 3dMD system uses an advanced software technique called active stereo photogrammetry to calculate the exact coordinate of each point on the face resulting in a more accurate recording then has previously been possible. 

Live Science is an ongoing project where scientists are invited into the Science Museum to carry out research using Museum visitors as volunteers. This experiment builds on the ‘Me in 3D’ Live Science project held in the Science Museum in 2012 which created the largest database of 3D facial images in the world and drew in over 10,000 visitors over 3 months. Similarly, ‘Are your facial expressions unique?’ will provide a special opportunity for visitors to be a part of shaping future technologies.


'Live Science: Are your facial expressions unique?' forms part of the Who am I? gallery. It will run Thursday – Monday at 11.00–13.00 and 14.00–17.30 from 17 April – 2 July 2017, following a one week run from the 10 – 17 April. Each session takes 5–10 minutes, and is recommended for children aged 5 and over. The public will be invited to share images using the hashtag #3DFaces.

Who am I? is supported by Wellcome, with additional support for Live Science from players of People’s Post Code Lottery.


Notes to Editors

For more information and images please contact Heather Morris in the Science Museum Press Office on 020 7942 4364 or via

About the Science Museum 
As the home of human ingenuity, the Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Welcoming over 3 million visitors a year, the Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement. More information can be found at

About the 3dMD system
3dMD is the most widely used 3D camera for human subject applications that demand anatomical image precision including healthcare, wearable technologies, apparel, anthropometrics, human factors, and security. Combining subject workflow efficiency with the ability to generate a progressive 3D sequence of high-quality motion images of the face to full body, 3dMD supports many innovations from clinical findings and facial recognition to the creation of new wearable technologies, clothing, and footwear that precisely adapt and fit to a person’s unique shape and enhance performance. More information can be found at

About Wellcome
Wellcome is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. It supports bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.

About People’s Postcode Lottery
People’s Postcode Lottery is a charity lottery. Players play with their postcodes to win cash prizes while raising money for charities and good causes local to them. As an External Lottery Manager, People’s Postcode Lottery manages multiple society lotteries promoted by different causes and supporting a range of good causes. For details on which society lottery is running each week, visit

About Discover South Kensington
Discover South Kensington brings together the Science Museum and other leading cultural and educational organisations to promote innovation and learning. South Kensington is the home of science, arts and inspiration. Discovery is at the core of what happens here and there is so much to explore every day. Visit the Discover South Kensington website to find out more.