Face Recognition: How it Works

How Does Face Recognition Work?


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You might have heard about how fingerprinting is used to identify someone’s identity by comparing this person’s fingerprint with other previously stored fingerprints. If you have seen movies, you have probably seen how effective this method can be to solve criminal cases. If you have gone through airports, your fingerprints might have been taken for security purposes. Besides fingerprinting, there is a new technique to identify people based on their faces. Face recognition technologies are becoming more common, and they will soon become an integral part of our life. They are already being used in many airports, churches, and streets. So it may be wise to know how face recognition works. Here you go.

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Face Recognition: How it Works

To start the recognition process, a face recognition software needs either an image or a video of you. The software, with the aid of algorithms, will try to abstract certain parameters from your face so that it can create a unique signature from your face. For instance, the software may calculate the distance between your eyes, the distance between your nose and each eye; some software tools may even try to create a template of your face blood vessels. By then, the image of your face has been thoroughly analyzed by the face recognition software.

Now it’s time for the run to the database

Once the face recognition software finishes with synthesizing the essential traits of your face, it will run its raw data to a database of previously captured face images. These images can be captured at airports, with interaction with law enforcement officers, on social media platforms, with your phone apps, or just in your city. If you think you have never been exposed to any face recognition system, then your face image probably has not been stored in any database. In such case, a face recognition system would find it difficult to do its job. But if any of the scenarios we have mentioned applies to you, then there is a high chance that your face image is in some database.

Match or not

If your face image is in its database, then the face recognition software will find a match. Depending on the database, certain information may be associated with the stored images, such as your name, height, date of birth and address, your purchase history at a store, or your driving records. If the algorithm works properly, then you will be found!

Does it always work properly?

Although face recognition systems are widely being used, there still is no certainty that they are always accurate. So, do not be surprised if you find yourself under investigation or you are being offered products that you never cared about when shopping. The chance is that the face recognition software, if any has been used, does not do a good job. One reason for the low accuracy of a face recognition software is the lack of a diverse set of stored images in its database. Another reason is the presence of bugs in the source code of the face recognition software.

Face recognition technologies are likely to grow in the near future. Let’s hope they will help us instead of hurt us.