U.S. To Expand Use Of Biometric Facial Recognition

By Paul Schuepp

The U.S. intelligence community announced in mid-November that it was broadening its use of biometric facial recognition technology so that it could more accurately and quickly establish the identity of people through photos and video.

As a leader in the development of facial recognition software for the law enforcement and government sectors, we are of course happy to hear of this development, as it expands the market and provides further validation of its usefulness.

The program, or BAA (Broad Agency Announcement) is called Janus and is run by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA). The goal of the program is to improve face recognition outcomes by using real world (rather than calibrated) representations of video and images.

Most facial recognition systems rely on full-frontal views to make an accurate identification and match. But in reality, subjects are rarely looking square into the camera. Our ForensicaGPS solves that problem with 2D to 3D conversion and “pose correction” capability, which creates a front-facing facial image which, again, most facial recognition systems are trained to use. The Janus program is looking for facial recognition technology that solves PIE, invariance to pose, illumination and expressions.  ForensicaGPS is already largely solving the variables of pose and illumination on uncontrolled facial images.

While Animetrics focuses on law enforcement, the market for facial recognition applications is virtually endless including security, authentication, retail, marketing, consumer and social media. We hope that the U.S. intelligence community’s expanded use of facial recognition will help drive the broader market. The technology is not the stuff of science fiction anymore. It’s here today. The science fiction is within the innovation of how facial recognition will be applied, and that is becoming more and more reality.

The Janus BAA will begin in April 2014 and will be awarded to a few technology leaders comprised of industry and academic participants.

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