Exciting news: Facetopo v. 2.0 is live in the iTunes appstore. We're super excited about this new version. It's a major update! 

    We've upgraded the placement of facial landmarks and it's 100% automated now, and much more accurate, in addition to being more user-friendly.

    We ask that all Users do 4 captures with this new version 2.0 of the app to be included in our first global 'face tree' to be created when we have enough data (10K Users). While the Facetopo app is able to capture children, our focus now for the study is the adult face, age 14+.

    Once we have our first 'face tree' the fun begins. Our first Users will be able to see where their face fits in the branches of the world 'face tree'. Users will be able to access custom analytics for facial similarity, facial features, and facial symmetry. Eventually, Users will be able to create family 'face trees' and compare the faces in their family.

    New in v. 2.0 is a new 'fun selfie' feature with science-themed filters. When you make your fourth capture, you unlock a sharing feature as well as 2 'fun selfie' filters. These 'fun selfies' are just a start, we're already working on more. 

    Try out the new app (it's still free!) and tell your friends!




    Our Facetopo poster presentation was a hit! Here Facetopo team members Dave Strickler and Murray Robinson, explain the details to model Gulnara Niaz and a festival participant.

    Then this happened:

    Sometimes the stars just align. After all of our hard work, Facetopo’s new 2.0 release went live in the iTunes store just in time for the annual AAAS Meeting! The AAAS Annual Meeting offers an exciting, interdisciplinary blend of more than 150 symposia and lectures, specialized seminars, poster sessions, and an international Exhibit Hall, including Family Science Days, which Facetopo participated in for the first time ever!


    The AAAS Annual Meeting is a global science gathering, bringing together thousands of scientists, engineers, policymakers, educators, and journalists to discuss the most recent developments in science and technology. Our new Users seemed to like the improved and simpler User experience we've been developing.

    Facetopo’s new fun selfie feature is working (yay!) and was a popular attraction for kids and families at Family Science Days. While Facetopo is primarily interested in analyzing facial data for Users age 14 and up, at Family Science Days, even the little ones got to make “Fun Selfies!” Are you a ‘mad scientist’ or ‘nerdy’ -type? 


    Some of our citizen scientists really had fun with the Fun Selfie feature!



    Thank you citizen scientists!

    The Facetopo app is currently available only for iOS. Android version coming soon. 
    Android Users: SIGNUP to be notified of Facetopo 2.0 Android Beta release.

    Huge thanks our Facetopo booth bunnies and helpers: Model Gulnara Niaz, William, Alexandra, Beatrix, and Gitika, and to our friends at Scistarter, SciCheer, and the Cambridge Science Festival!



    We are super-excited to participate in Family Science Days, the science festival at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston this year!

    AAAS was founded in Philadelphia in 1848 and is one of the oldest scientific societies in America. The American Association for the Advancement of Science is a nonprofit professional society dedicated to the advancement of scientific and technological excellence across all disciplines, and to the public’s understanding of science and technology. Family Science Days at the annual AAAS Meeting attracts science-loving families from all over the world.

    We’ve been working to develop a fun interactive activity for our visitors, and we’ve come up with a new feature within the app: the “Fun Selfie” feature. After you’ve taken your serious selfies and made your facetopo, you then get to make a silly face and create a “Fun Selfe” to share with friends.

    We’ve also put together a poster presentation to articulate our hypothesis for the Facetopo citizen science project. Our poster is entitled, “Initial Quantitation of 3D Facial Features from Volunteer Facetopo Testers” and we’re pleased to show: reproducibility, normal variance of facial feature data across Users, and our methodology.

    The Facetopo app maps your face in 3D by placing 70 scientifically-derived facial landmark nodes onto your selfies. Behind-the-scenes, the app calculates the distance between each node and all the other nodes. We visualize similarity between Captures and Users using a dendrogram, a tree diagram often used in computational biology to illustrate similarity among samples. The dendrogram in our AAAS poster shows data from 40 Users doing 4 captures each. Shown here is a small segment of the dendrogram:

    When we have 10,000 Users who have created 2 matching Captures, we’ll create and publish our first Facetopo Facetree. All of the Facetopo Users that help us get to 10,000 Users will be able to see which branch of the Facetree their face belongs on and see other faces similar to their own. Those faces similar to yours will be your “Face Family.”

    So don’t waste a moment, install the Facetopo app today and give it a try so your face can be part of our first 10K Facetree!

    The Facetopo app is currently available only for iOS. Android version coming soon. Android Users: SIGNUP to be notified of Facetopo 2.o Android Beta release.

    Shoutouts to our Facetopo booth bunnies! Model Gulnara Niaz, William, Alexandra, Beatrix, and Gitika, and to our friends at Scistarter, SciCheer, and the Cambridge Science Festival!




    At the top of the New Year, let’s take a moment to celebrate last year’s accomplishments. 2016 was a landmark year for Facetopo. After nearly two years of development, the Facetopo app dropped in the itunes App store in March, and the Googleplay store in April. Word of our global citizen science project spread organically via science festivals, tech events, word-of-mouth, and social media, and we finished the year with nearly 2000 unique users from all around the world. 

    When we reached our first 1K Users milestone In October we analyzed the facial landmark data and learned that reproducibility needed improvement. We jumped right back into app development: Facetopo 2.0 makes huge leaps in usability and accuracy. We’ve greatly simplified the User experience by developing an app that automatically places facial landmarks onto the User selfies. Facetopo 2.0 is currently in Beta and we anticipate a February release. We are getting close to completing our first round of Beta-testing for Facetopo 2.0. Sign up to help Betatest 2.0 (we only need about 20 more testers!)

    The Facetopo App is out in the wild and we're excited to see what we'll learn from it. Thanks to all who have joined the Facetopo community and donated your Facetopos to science! 

    Thanks to all for making our betalaunch a success. We are especially grateful for the support of Catalyst Conversations, Science Cheerleader, Scistarter, The Crowd & The Cloud PBS TV series, Workbar, the Good Ones, the Cambridge Science Festival, and Betabound, as well as Boston-area Meetup groups Nerdnite, Quantified Self, Datavis, Tech Poetics, and Camera Culture.

    Mark your calendars! We've got lots in the works for 2017:
    February 10: Look for Facetopo 2.0 in iTunes App store
    February 18-19: Facetopo at AAAS Family Science Days, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA
    April 15: Facetopo at the Cambridge Science Festival Science Carnival/Robot Zoo, Cambridge, MA



    Did you know you can take selfies for science? Facetopo is a global citizen science project. The Facetopo app uses face-mapping technology to make a 3D map of your face from a sequence of pictures. To make a Facetopo you create a private account accessible only by you. (Facetopo does not share your selfies or your facemap without permission.) When you make a Facetopo, you contribute your facial data to the private and secure Facetopo database, and you'll be able to see your face within the context of the visual encyclopedia of faces that Facetopo is building. Facetopo is a huge science project: our goal is to collect 10,000 faces to help us see similarities and differences in faces around the world. When we have 5,000 faces we will build our first face-tree, so join the Facetopo community now and be a part of citizen science history!

    Ready to do some science? Making a Facetopo is not difficult, but does require a little effort. We encourage you to make at least two Facetopos to minimize errors. If you decide to make 3 or even 4 Facetopos, you will get to see your 3D face in different ways. To learn how to use the app, keep reading!


    The Facetopo app is available *free* in the iTunes and Google Play stores. 


    Each User needs their own account. Why create an account? You'll be credited when we publish scientific findings. You'll be notified when your face-family grows. You'll want to access your to personalize the analytics and see how your face compares to others, and see where you sit on the global facetree.


    To take high-quality selfies of the front and side of your face, make sure that your eyebrows and ears are visible from both front and side, your device is flat on a wall, you are free of jewelry and glasses, and that you have good lighting (no shadows).

    You may need to practice turning your head to profile. No need to peek at the camera when you are in profile -- the app snaps the pics automatically. We suggest finding a point directly to 3 o'clock to spot. (Don't worry about getting it perfect -- you can RETAKE.)


    Check your selfies. Decide if this set meets all of the criteria. (You can RETAKE as many times as you like!) 


    When mapping your face, position the dots as shown in the example on your face. Follow the instructions that are given as well.


    Now follow the instructions and place the dots onto your pic as shown in the examples.


    For aligning the 3D face, use the sliders to adjust the map up and down, side to side, or forwards and backwards. The app steps you through it, and on the last screen you are able to adjust all 3 sliders.


    Submit your face data and receive your 3D facetopo. You can share it with your friends.

    (Shown here is the 3D facemap you get when you make your 4th Facetopo.)

    Thanks for playing!



    It's easy to make a Facetopo. You only need wifi and about 10 minutes.

    Here’s how:

    1. Using your iPad (preferred - larger screen size is easier to see) or iPhone, go the iTunes App Store  and search for “Facetopo” and install

    2. Create your private Facetopo User account

    3. Get ready for your close-up. If you have long hair or bangs put them back so both of your ears and eyebrows are completely visible. Make sure your device audio is on and not on mute.
    4. Check yourself out. Put your device flat on a wall to eliminate extra angles. Are there shadows on your face? Move to a different wall. Adjust your distance from the camera so your face fits inside the outline. Practice turning to profile - 90 degrees so you can find a visual spot. If straight ahead is noon, look to 3 o'clock for the profile pic.

    5. Capture your Selfies. When you're ready tap START the app will automatically take your front selfie, and a voice will guide you and tell you when to turn to profile, and the app will take your side selfie. No need to peek at the camera, keep your gaze even and straight ahead. 

    6. Check your Selfies. Review the checklists for both front and side pics. You can RETAKE them as many times as you like. When you tap ACCEPT we’ll generate your face-map

    7. Improve the accuracy of your face-map in front view, by dragging the dots if they're not perfect

    8. Then you’ll map your side photo by placing some dots

    9. Then watch the GIZMO autoalign to your side pic to bring it into 3D space. You can then manually adjust the GIZMO if needed

    10. Set the remaining dots in Side view

    11. Tap SEND DATA and you’ll see your face in 3D. Share it!

    Please spread the word about Facetopo and help us get our #first500! Here’s the link to share for Facetopo App free iTunes download:



    PHOTO, ABOVE: Science Cheerleaders on stage at the USA Science and Engineering Festival

    FaceTopo kicked off our first national citizen science day on April 16th at both the Cambridge Science Festival and the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington DC. Incidentally, #citsciday is not just one day; it’s a month-long celebration of citizen science, running from from April 16-May 21, 2016!

    Cambridge Science Festival's Science Carnival/Robot Zoo 2016

    At the Cambridge Science Festival, we rocked the popular (and Free Admission!) Science Carnival/Robot Zoo event. Lucky us, the Facetopo booth was strategically placed between Science Cheerleader/Scistarter and Kite Man, so we had no shortage of interested visitors. We definitely took notes from Kite Man, obviously a science festival veteran. (Yes, that’s right folks -- we now have in the works a pingpong ball-blasting air gun for future Science Festivals!) Three cheers to Science Cheerleader (cheerleaders from MIT and Brown who are studying to be scientists, engineers, and doctors!) not only for their support but also for their cute giant hair bows and awesome stunts.

    Science Cheerleader promotes Scistarter and Facetopo at the Cambridge Science Festival 2016

    From the Cambridge Science Festival, we hightailed it to the airport to catch our flight to Washington DC to catch Sunday at the USA Science and Engineering Festival. The largest science festival in the country, the USAScifest was on an epic scale - five exhibit halls of science and engineering at the DC Convention Center featuring the likes of: unmanned robots, solar-powered space shuttles, Mars Rovers, and a musical tesla coil. We didn’t even get to see the half of it but our Hall alone had booths from the NSA, NGS, the Museum of Science Fiction, the USAF, the CIA, NOAA, Sikorsky - wow!! We had a blast sharing about Facetopo and gave out hundreds of postcards and stickers. A huge “Thanks!” to Scistarter for featuring Facetopo at their citizen science booth.

    USA Science and Engineering Festival, Exhibit Hall C, 2016

    Many interesting faces stopped by to learn more about Facetopo, including this set of identical twins! Android users were excited to hear that we’re developing an Android release. Please take a few minutes to install the Facetopo App and join the community. We need your face! Help us reach our #first500 goal!

    Identical twins and a friend eager to learn more about Facetopo at the USA Science and Engineering Festival 2016

    Thanks everyone for the warm welcome to the citizen science community! There was terrific synergy among these other featured citizen science projects at the Scistarter booth:

    Genetics & Smell Chemistry - Family members smell an odor/scent and take a survey
    NASA’s SMAP - Collect/measure soil samples to compare with NASA satellite data
    The Great Sunflower Project - Watch a plant, record pollinators, report online
    Zombee Watch - Collect honey bees, report easy-to-spot signs of infection
    Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) - Help research parasitic barnacles, endangered orchids, and tobacco plantation archaeology
    Other booth partners included: Discover Magazine, Astronomy Magazine, The Crowd and The Cloud, Science Cheerleaders, and TravelQuest.

    We were thrilled to be interviewed for The Crowd and the Cloud, the new PBS documentary tv series about citizen science. 

    Our booth neighbor, Smithsonian Envoronmental Research Center has a number of citizen science projects

    To all of you civilians out there, check out Scistarter - a searchable database of hundreds of active citizen science projects - see if there’s one that grabs your interest!



    Facetopo v. 1.31 (our first Update since release) went live in the App store April 15th, just in time for Citizen Science Day (April 16th).

    • Chin bug fixed!

    • Now you can share your FaceTopo!! (via email, text, Twitter, FB and G+)

    • New animation and sound effects during node placement

    Just to keep you on your toes, we quickly discovered a new iPad bug in release 1.31 (which prevented users from advancing past one of the first few Side Pic nodes - nose bottom) "Jiminy Crickets!" we exclaimed, and fixed it ASAP in release v. 1.32 which went live April 21. That's life in the fast-paced world of iOS app development!

    If you’ve got the Facetopo App installed on your iphone or ipad - EXCELLENT! It will automatically update along with your other app updates.

    NOTE: We will be constantly making improvements to the app and periodically releasing updates. After installing an upgrade, please LOG IN and make a couple of Facetopos with the new version of the app (currently v. 1.32) so your Facetopo can benefit from the improved precision!

    Currently, as in right this minute, we are at work planning the next Upgrade v. 1.4 which will also be our first Android release, folks!!! Keep an eye out for it end of May. We are also making a wishlist for features we’d like to see in Facetopo 2.0 (planned for a Fall 2016 release). If you have any feedback or ideas for features you’d like to see, drop us a line

    Thanks for being a part of the Facetopo community! Facetopo will only work if tons of people do it, so please help spread the word!