Does your face fit?

Does your face fit?

Post by: George Thaw, CEO, Fuel3D

Facial recognition has made giant strides forwards since its invention in the 1960s thanks to massive advancements in computer hardware and software. With the new iPhone X, Apple has shined the spotlight on facial recognition for user authentication and it won’t be long now until facial recognition becomes a mainstream technology.

Facial or face recognition uses biometric data to identify and authenticate a person and involves comparing live capture or digital image data with stored data. The iPhone X’s Face ID biometric system uses a powerful infra-red camera to scan and map your face in 3D. As the market leading smartphone brand, Apple’s inclusion of this technology is likely to make us more accepting of face recognition in other applications, despite accuracy and privacy issues and the risk of misidentification.

So what does the future hold? Using your face to unlock your phone is really just the beginning of how the technology is going to be used in the years to come. Facial recognition is already being used for security, surveillance, policing and even celebrity spotting, all with varying degrees of success, and there are many other exciting applications currently being explored.

Last month broadcasters of the Royal Wedding used Amazon’s Rekognition technology to identify celebrities and members of the royal family, adding their names automatically as subtitles on viewers screens. In finance and retail, banks are working on letting customers use their face to log onto their bank accounts and supermarkets are looking at trialling facial recognition technology to check customers for age-restricted purchases like alcohol. But accuracy still remains a major concern for biometric data applications. According to data from the privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, the Metropolitan Police could be misidentifying innocent people as wanted criminals more than nine times out of 10.

At Fuel3D, we’ve been busy building a technology platform for retail that could take the use of biometrics to a whole new level. We’ve also been furthering the development of our high speed, high-resolution 3D scanning technology to provide IQT government customers with advanced 3D scanning applications that can be used in many scenarios and environments.

There is still a lot of research to be done across the world to improve the technology’s shortcomings, but the potential is vast. What have we learnt?

First and foremost, machine learning has a vital role to play in improving accuracy. The more images that are processed, the more accurately machines will be able to read your face. For example, a machine is always going to be more accurate in creating a match for a celebrity than a criminal due to the vast image banks of famous faces.

In retail we’ve learnt that there is a major opportunity to use 3D scanning and the principles of face recognition to enable consumers to buy products that perfectly fit their faces. The future of retail is about personalisation and customisation and face biometrics could soon play a pivotal role in how we shop for everything form-fitting, from glasses and swimming goggles to skincare and sleep apnoea masks. 3D facial scanning could ultimately turn the conventional eyewear test and the way we select glasses on its head and lead to a truly disruptive online retail model for eyewear that gives consumers the power and flexibility to shop for perfectly fitting fashionable eyewear from the comfort of their armchair. I can see a future where consumers no longer have to question whether their face fits. Instead they’ll be asking themselves whether the brands they choose fit them and their lifestyle!

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