Facial Recognition System
by zeeshan ali
What is a Facial Recognition System?
A facial recognition system is a computer application capable of identifying or verifying a person from a digital image or a video frame from a video source.
How does it work?
Facial Recognition employs the use of matching-algorithms to identify characteristics, or features, from the image or picture of a person face. These are then matched against a face database to match the person to the image analyzed.
There are a number of techniques or algorithms which are used in facial recognition systems. Some utilize a geometric approach which looks at distinguishing features, while others utilize a photometric approach which is a statistical method of distilling a picture into values and then comparing the values with templates to eliminate variances. Aside from the conventional methods, emerging techniques involve 3-Dimensional Recognition, Skin Texture Analysis and Thermal Analysis.
What Is it used for?
Since the mid-60s, intelligence agencies have been investing in technologies which can recognize and identify potential criminals from surveillance camera images. Over time, these systems have then gone on to be adopted by various security and law-enforcement agencies for tracking and detaining potential suspects. In recent times, facial recognition systems have started to become common-place wherever surveillance or identification is required. A common example of this is the use of Smart Gates at airports and terminals, which utilize facial recognition to match the traveler against the passport information.
Are there other commercial uses for it?
Gamers are already familiar with face recognition login to the Microsoft Xbox 360 video game console through its Kinect accessory, as well as on Windows 10 via its “Windows Hello” platform. Android 4.0 added facial recognition using a smartphone’s front camera as a means of unlocking devices, while Apple’s iPhone X smartphone introduced facial recognition to the product line with its “Face ID” platform.
Facial recognition software has also been employed in preventing people from obtaining fake Identification cards and driver licenses, and in elections to prevent voter fraud.
How is it of use to me?
If you use Facebook, then you are already using it. When you upload any of your photos onto Facebook, Facebook will suggest personal tags for certain faces or suggest that you add a tag for a face that it does not have in its database. These tags are then the identification utilized for cross-referencing the person or persons in other photographs or images.
This is now becoming a common feature in both image and video social media applications, such as Instagram and Snapchat, for tagging and cross-referencing through facial recognition to identify people whom you may know.
But what about privacy?
Civil rights right organizations and privacy campaigners have expressed concern that privacy is being compromised by the use of surveillance technologies. It has been argued that, from a commercial perspective, consumers may not understand or be aware of what their data is being used for and which denies them the ability to consent to how their personal information gets shared. There is also the concern that the information in the wrong hands can be misused for forgery or fraud.
Some industry, government, and privacy organizations are in the process of developing, or have developed, “voluntary privacy guidelines”. While these guidelines vary between the groups, the primary purpose is to gain the consent of and inform the people of the intended use of facial recognition technology. It is still a long way off however, before standardized global guidelines are established and complied with for protecting and ensuring the privacy of individuals.
What does the future hold?
The adoption of Facial Recognition Systems is becoming widespread across multiple industries for a variety of services. Amazon has recently launched a cashier-free grocery store in the US, where people are tagged and tracked upon entry and are charged on Amazon Pay for the grocery taken off the shelves. Vending machines in the UK are utilizing facial recognition to track consumer preference for goods, and are taking the next step to providing selection recommendations based on cross-referenced data of age and medical history. ATMs in China make use of facial recognition to authorize payment withdrawals, thus negating the need of carrying ATM Cards. Systems set up on campuses and workplaces in various parts of the world are being utilized to identify strangers on premises and to enforce off-limit access for non-authorized personnel. Doctors are making use of the technology to identify potential diseases based on skin-condition and matched against patient history.
These are just some of the examples in which facial-recognition systems are bringing about convenience and betterment for society, with even more widespread adoption and advancements expected in the times to come.
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