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PCs can see through your disguise!

Every face has special features that define that person, yet faces can also be very similar. A cutting-edge face recognition software could revolutionise security systems...

tech reviews Updated: Jul 08, 2009 20:47 IST

A cutting-edge face recognition software could revolutionise security systems, especially if it can see through disguises, according to the latest research.

Every face has special features that define that person, yet faces can also be very similar, explained Lin Huang from Florida Atlantic University (FLA), in Boca Raton.

That makes computerized face recognition for security and other applications an interesting but difficult task. However, powerful techniques have so far required powerful computers.

Now, Huang and colleagues Hanqi Zhuang and Salvatore Morgera, have applied a one-dimensional filter to the two-dimensional data from conventional analyses, such as the Gabor method.

This allows them to reduce significantly the amount of computer power required without compromising accuracy. It can even see through certain types of disguises such as facial hair and glasses.

The team tested the performance of their new algorithm on a standard database of 400 images of 40 subjects.

They found that their technique is not only faster and works with low resolution images, such as those produced by standard CCTV cameras, but also solves the variation problems caused by different light levels and shadows, viewing direction, pose, and facial expressions.

Face recognition software has been in development for many years. However, for biometric authentication at border crossings, for access to buildings, for automated banking, crime investigation, and other applications, it has not yet become a mainstream application.

The main technical limitation is although the systems are accurate they require a lot of computer power, said a FLA release.