Facial Recognition Targets Stressed City Dwellers in Need of Vacation


When one thinks of Estonia, or any small country in North or Eastern Europe for that matter, tourism isn’t usually the first thing that springs to mind. Perhaps it’s this lack of tourism and modern industry that has preserved the land’s rural beauty, but regardless of cause, the European Union Regional Development Fund is now looking to share the splendors of Estonia with the rest of us, and they’re using facial recognition technology to identify who needs to de-stress the most.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Estonia Stress Buster campaign’s companion video featured below, 43 percent of all adults in this brave, new globalized world of ours suffer some kind of negative health effect(s) from stress.  

Thanks to Dr. Andre Weinreich, a face-tracking specialist, the technology determines how angry, happy, sad and surprised each pedestrian is based on their expressions before targeting them for campaign engagement. Enter The Estonian Stress Buster – a bearded and plaid-clad European take on the lumberjack aimed at benevolently bestowing the gift of pure nature on backwards and busy city folk.

Phase 1 is the Sound Box, which is a wooden instrument with a high-precision speaker that treats passersby with bird sounds and other audio from bucolic Estonia. The more visibly stressed get the Estonian forest brought to them along with a backdrop and a photo opportunity. And just when you think this stunt borders on public embarrassment, the Estonian Stress Buster awards these frazzled citizens with a free trip to the country that offers such relaxation.

Find out more about this interactive mixed media campaign at https://www.visitestonia.com/stressbuster


About Author

Jason Kushner is a videographer, editor, writer and filmmaker living in the Greater Atlanta Area. With an educational background combining film and journalism, Kushner has shot video and written for a myriad of publications and multimedia projects including Creative Loafing Tampa, TBO.com, Starline Films and Digital Signage Connection. His 2009 documentary American Colonies: Collapse of the Bee became an Official Selection at 12 international film festivals, won Best Documentary at the 2009 Central Florida Film Festival and a John Muir Gold Award at the 2009 Yosemite Film Festival.  In 2015, he became Digital Media Editor for Digital Signage Expo, LightShow West and LED Specifier Summit and has since become Digital Content Manager for those shows’ parent company, Exponation.

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