Face Recognition: Initially Developed for Law Enforcement Find Border Security. Face Recognition Technology Has Made Its Why into Digital Cameras. Computers and Even Social Network Websites

Article excerpt

One of the early pioneers of face recognition was Dr Woodrow 'Woody' Bledsoe. In 1964, he led a team of researchers at Panoramic Research Inc (PRI) in California, who developed one of the earliest forms of face recognition. Because most the research at PRI was funded by the United States Department of Defense, much of it was kept secret.

The team's computer program measured facial features such as the distance between pupils and the width of the mouth. These measurements were stored in a database as a set of numbers, known today as a faceprint.

When the program measured a new face, the faceprint was compared to those stored in the database to find the closest match.

The researchers said the system was sometimes better than humans at identifying faces. The only downside was that the system could not process faces that were tilted, had been photographed under strange lighting, or had strong facial expressions such as smiling-a problem that still plagues today's systems.

Today's systems also measure the curvature of features such as the jaw line and cheekbones, which are converted into mathematical equations called algorithms. Advanced systems can also adjust for the tilt or angle of the face, or use three-dimensional [3D] imaging.

In the last five years; face recognition has made its way into consumer electronic equipment such as cameras and computers. …