Isn’t it crazy that we can unlock our phones by just staring at it! The first time when fingerprint locks came in place, my mind was blown. But we have clearly gone many steps ahead! Facial recognition technology has grown at a dizzying rate over the last decade, making it tough to keep up with all of the latest developments. By scanning your face, how does your iPhone recognise you? Why does the customs office at the airport check your face when you enter a country? If you are as curious about facial recognition as I am, don’t worry I did all the research on your behalf. Here’s everything you need to know about Facial Recognition.
What is Facial Recognition?
Facial recognition is a software approach that analyses a video frame or a digital photograph that contains the individual’s face to authenticate or identify their identity. Now these systems work in several ways, but the most common method is to match facial features in a photograph to faces in a database. Facial recognition may be used in a variety of ways. Police officers, for example, can use such technology to identify people they stop. Previously, facial recognition software was only available as a computer application. It is now possible to use it on mobile devices and other technology, like robotics. This opens up a slew of new facial recognition applications. It has recently acquired popularity as a marketing and branding tool. Automated image indexing, video surveillance, and human-computer interactions are only some of the few applications.
How does facial recognition work?
Many people are familiar with facial recognition technology because of the FaceID function used to unlock iPhones (however, this is only one of it’s applications). Typically, face recognition does not rely on an extensive database of photos to establish an individual’s identity; instead, it detects and recognises one person as the exclusive owner of the device, denying others access.
Facial recognition compares the faces of people walking past unique cameras to images of people on a watch list, in addition to unlocking phones. The photos on the watch lists may be of anyone, even people who aren’t suspected of committing any crimes, and they could come from anyplace, including our social media accounts. Facial technology systems function in a variety of ways, but they always work in the same way:
Step 1 – Face Detection
Whether alone or amid a crowd, the camera recognises and locates the image of a face. The person in the picture might be looking straight ahead or in profile.
Step 2 – Face Analysis
After that, the image of the face is gathered and assessed. Most face recognition systems focus on 2D rather than 3D pictures, matching a 2D image with public photos or a database. The application analyses the geometry of your face. The distance between your eyes, the depth of your eye sockets, the distance between your forehead and chin, the shape of your cheekbones, and the contour of your lips, ears, and chin are crucial factors to consider. The aim is to recognise the critical facial landmarks for distinguishing your face.
Step 3 – Converting the Image to Data
The face capture technique turns analogue information (a face) into a collection of digital information based on the person’s facial characteristics (data). Your facial analysis has been converted to a mathematical formula. A faceprint is a name given to the numerical code. Each person’s faceprint is unique, just as each person’s thumbprint is unique.
Step 4 – Finding a Match
Your faceprint is then compared to a database of other people’s faces. For example, the FBI has access to up to 650 million images gathered from state databases. Any photo on Facebook that has been tagged with a person’s name becomes part of Facebook’s database, which may be used for facial recognition. If your faceprint matches an image in a facial recognition database, a decision is made.
Facial recognition is the most natural of all biometric measures. This makes intuitive sense, given that we often recognise ourselves and others by looking at faces rather than thumbprints and irises. It is believed that face recognition technology regularly affects more than half of the world’s population.
Why Facial Recognition is so popular in today’s time
Face recognition can aid in detecting terrorists and other criminals on a government level. On a more personal level, face recognition might be used as a security measure to protect personal electronics and surveillance cameras.
Even the availability of face recognition technology can act as a deterrent, especially in cases of minor wrongdoing. Apart from physical security, cybersecurity offers its own set of benefits. Businesses may employ face recognition technology to replace passwords when accessing computers. In theory, the approach cannot be hacked because there is nothing to steal or update, unlike a password.
When the technology becomes more widely available, customers will pay at stores using their faces rather than credit cards or cash. This might cut down on time spent in checkout lines. Face recognition provides a rapid, automated, and seamless verification experience. It does not require contact, as it does with fingerprinting or other security measures – which is especially important in the post-COVID environment.
The recognition of a face takes less than a second, which gives firms that use facial recognition an advantage. Businesses demand secure and speedy answers in an era of cyber-attacks and solid hacking tools.
Removing Bias from Stop and Search
The public’s discontent with illegal stops and searches is a source of controversy for cops; facial recognition technology might help improve the process. Face recognition technology might help minimize bias and reduce stops and searches of law-abiding citizens by detecting suspects in crowds using an automated rather than a human method.
Face recognition has a bright future ahead of it. Even if sustaining consistent levels of accuracy is still a challenge, we are still light years ahead of where we were 5-10 years ago. This industry will continue to grow, setting the way for significant financial gains in the coming years. Surveillance and security are two major areas where this technology will considerably impact.