Facial Recognition Technology


After launching Apple’s iPhone X in September 2017, facial recognition technology has become one of the mainstream security and safety technologies in the meantime. Facial recognition is a system capable of identifying or verifying a person from a digital image or a video frame by making maps of an individual’s face. The maps capture all the details that humans may not notice; the data is then stored as a face-print, which is later used for security. Facial recognition systems work in general by comparing selected facial features from a given image with faces within a database. It is a four-step process: facial tracking, feature extraction, feature matching, and facial recognition.

After scanning the individual’s photo and detecting every detail in the face, the facial recognition system starts to analyze the information of the person facing the scanner. It notices features such as the eyes, the angles of the face, the space between the eyes, etc.; then it tries to match this information to those previously stored in the database, to recognize the individual, all of which occurs promptly.

Facial recognition technology is now used for mobile applications and mobiles security. When somebody posts a photo on Facebook without tagging people, the application automatically recognizes the faces and asks: “Do you want to tag..?” This feature is not restricted to Facebook; most applications now apply facial recognition. Recently, Snapchat and Instagram have been inserting and developing face filters, where the application recognizes the user’s face and imposes different face filters on the user’s face. The filter covers the face through the map it creates; however, when the user’s head moves slightly in any direction, the map loses its configuration and the filter disappears.

In China, facial recognition technology is applied to most of the facilities, such as bank accounts and supermarkets, where the user can scan his face to access his bank account or credit card. They even introduced face scanners in the bathrooms to keep track of people who steal toilet paper. They have 700 million recognized faces, which is considered half of their population; fascinating, is not it?

If facial recognition is applied in something such as law enforcement agencies or in some secret police investigation, we may witness Face off—the movie—in reality, where someone may swap his face with another person to have access to the information only allowed for the other. Until then, we have to wait and see if face-swapping surgery will be made available in the near future.


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