Detecting a user’s presence with face detection

Facade is a small program that tries to determine a user’s presence using a webcam and face detection algorithms. If no face has been detected for a certain period (e.g. 10 seconds), it assumes the user is away from his desk (or at least not paying attention to the screen).

Facade has a custom status icon that pops up notification bubbles whenever a presence change occurs. It also sets the user’s IM status by connecting to Pidgin‘s D-Bus interface.

Feedback is always welcome! To keep track of news related to Facade, have a look at my blog.

The software is licensed under the GNU GPL. The code can be obtained using Bazaar:

bzr get http://research.edm.uhasselt.be/~jvermeulen/code/facade/



* Most likely already installed on your GNU/Linux distribution.


There is currently minimal support for Windows through the simple_winclient.py script, which just prints out the detected status.

  • a webcam
  • Python
  • ctypes (included by default as of Python 2.5)
  • OpenCV


I would like to thank Gary Bishop and Minh-Tri Pham for CVtypes, an easy-to-use ctypes-based wrapper for OpenCV.