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PC Big Brother forces shop staff to smile

This chap gets a big, fat zero from Omron

Rip-off Britain's service-with-a-snarl ethos could be about to get a kick in the pants thanks to a new system for shops and department stores that measures just how friendly staff are to customers.

Japanese high-tech firm Omron has developed a computer package that uses a camera and the company's Okao Vision software to analyse the quality of a smile.

Honourable face

The Okao software (it means 'honourable face', by the way) rates a smile based on factors that include the angles of the mouth and the corners of the eyes and spits out a score between zero and 100.

Omron says it intends shops to use the package to help train staff to be friendlier in their dealings with customers.

Westward ho

As that's generally not a problem in Japan, we can only assume it has designs on overseas markets in need of a boost on the retail frontline.

Pricing starts at ¥300,000 (£2,235) for a basic system, of which Omron hopes to sell at least 100 in the first year.