By Paul Schuepp
Popular Science magazine had written an exhaustive article in its February issue about law enforcement’s use of facial recognition. I wanted to share it because Animetrics, in particular our flagship ForensicaGPS technology, is featured prominently.
The article, called The End of Anonymity, notes that the FBI this summer will expand its Next Generation Identification program by providing nationwide access to more than 16 million mug shots, with local and state police expected to contribute millions more. This, the article notes, will turn facial recognition technology into a more pervasive tool for law enforcement.
Indeed, while commercial uses of facial recognition are being widely explored, law enforcement and security are the primary markets for the technology today.
But as we know, facial recognition technology has limitations. It is most accurate when a subject is looking straight into a camera, with good lighting. That seldom happens, and that’s where ForensicaGPS comes in. The technology, the article notes, “turns a useless photo into an identifiable face” by turning a badly-lit, rotated face into a 3D image that can be run through matching algorithms to positively identify a subject.
Popular Science called ForensicaGPS, “the best currently deployed example” of software that “mitigates the impact of bad photos.”
We wholeheartedly agree.
The article also mentions a new Animetrics product called Vinyl, which automatically isolates and sorts faces culled from video footage. Stay tuned for more information about this exciting new product.
Of course, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to biometrics. Developers are working on sophisticated technologies that use our eyes, voice, veins and skin to identify individuals. The application for these technologies – both in law enforcement and in the commercial sector – is limited only by the imagination.
Fingerprint technology, the first example of using biometrics in law enforcement, is over 100 years old but it is still widely used today because it is reliable.
Will facial biometrics eventually become as reliable? That remains to be seen, but we are today working very hard to give law enforcement and security agencies the most cutting-edge technology to overcome facial recognition challenges and positively identify criminals.