A facial recognition enabled device is able to compare the features of a passing face to those in a database, thereby recognizing the passerby’s identity, perhaps without them even knowing they were targeted. Our faces are all mathematical equations, with certain angles defining the shape of our jawbones and cheekbones, and acertain distance between our eyes, ears and nose, making us distinctive. Facial recognition software uses algorithms thatutilize these differences by reading these features and comparing them to a database of images, looking for a match. There are various forms of this technology already in place, including 3-D facial recognition technology that is able to distinguish contour, and skin texture analysis that takes into account patterns and lines on the skin. Facial recognition has been used for diverse purposes. Take a look at the following examples of facial recognition use and consider if your face has ever been read.
Criminals and Terrorists
Unsurprisingly, members of government and law enforcement were the original consumers of this technology. They used the software to pick faces out of a crowd and match them against the faces of wanted criminals. Border and immigration services in airports and train stations have also begun to use this service when they issue visas, checking the results against known and wanted criminals. Fingerprint scans are also used to verifythat the person entering the country is the one to whom the visa was originally issued. This technology is also used by many banks and airports for security and as a preventative measure.
There are several programs in place that allow parents to bring their children into local police departments or government offices in order to have their fingerprints, biometrics and DNA samples placed into a database in case of abduction. There are also other scenarios in which such information would be useful, such as when you’reseparated from your children because of a natural disaster, a child runaway or a child gettinglost or disoriented.
This technology is in use at secure sites across the globe, from weapon manufacturers to nuclear missile sites and secret government sites. This allows site administrators to be aware of the movements of staff and visitors, and to determine whetheran individual has the correct access credentials.
The Spy in your Pocket
Many devices now have the option of facial recognition security for personal use, such as PCs and laptops. There are also apps available for Apple, Android and BlackBerry phones. For instance, the FaceFirst mobile app has the ability to run facial identifications across watch lists, providing the user with match probability and records. Used primarily by security companies, this works by inputting facial recognition software into compatible mobile phones, such as the BlackBerry Bold 3 smartphone. The software algorithm then compares the faces that are captured with the phone’s camera against a massive database.When matches are found, alerts are sent to all phones and other devices.
Keeping You from Making Bad Decisions
Not sure if you can handle one more drink on your night out? Well, advanced facial recognition technology can decide for you. Researchers at a Greek university are working on a facial recognition camera thatwill be able to determine someone’s intoxication level based on measuring facial temperature and color. By matching someone’s face against a database of intoxicated faces, it can make a prediction as to whether you’re one drink gone.
The possibilities for this technology are endless. Some claim that one day we will be able to use this technology instead of identification cards, ATM cards or even passports. This would not happen anytime soon, however, as there are still many kinks to work out. For instance, the software often has difficulty adapting to certain factors like aging and facial distortion by outside factors, such as accidents or disease. There is also a major concern about identity theft as this technology is often utilized in places unbeknownst to the general public. The control of information generated from these devices is of paramount importance. Notwithstanding these concerns, this technology is already widely used in the realm of security and travel and we should expect to see an expansion of use in the near future.