Friday 24 January, 2014
Facial recognition technology is a new technology developed originally for security reasons. Research started in the 1960s but little progress was made until the last decade or so. This is partly because computers have become more advanced and the possibility has come into our reach, and also because of increased security concerns due to the threat of terrorism.
A Face in the Crowd
Today, they’re working on some pretty amazing things. One of them is to use facial recognition technology at airports and other high-security areas to recognize known criminals and terrorists. Security experts are very hopeful about this technology but it isn’t quite perfect yet.
They’re also hopeful about the ability of this technology to pick out a face out in a crowd. This isn’t possible yet but the technology isn’t too far out of our reach. A crowd can be scanned and the computer can pinpoint a specific individual by recognizing their facial features.
This technology can be used for biometric screening. This is particularly exciting. Biometrics is the use of physical data to identify you. An example in use today is fingerprint scanning. It’s used to grant entry into buildings and for other uses. Biometric screening is much safer than using passwords or pass cards because only one person has your fingerprint.
Facial scanning will take this technology to another level. A major advantage of facial scanning is that you don’t have to come into physical contact with the scanner and you could actually be scanned from a distance. You wouldn’t even have to stop. The door would just open as you approached.
Facial Recognition Can Be Fun
There is lots of fun stuff you can do with facial recognition technology as well. Right now there are a number of lookalike websites. These are sites that use facial recognition to find people who look like you. You can use them to find your celebrity twin, a doppelganger from another part of the world, a romantic partner who looks like you, or a prediction of what your baby might look like.
How Facial Recognition Works
Every facial recognition program is slightly different but there are a few basics behind the technology. The program analyzes a photograph by looking at specific facial landmarks, such as the height of cheekbones, width between eyes, length of chin, and so on. It then compares these landmarks with other faces stored in its database. The best programs analyze a large number of landmarks and have huge databases for comparison.
This is not so different from how we recognize faces but much more accurate. We tend to notice the most unusual or standout features only, and ignore the rest. But a facial recognition program can take everything into account.
This is exciting technology and it promises to change the way many things are done in the future.