VISAPP Computer Vision conference extends submission deadline

VISAPP_2014_conference_logoComputer Vision is an interesting kind of technology in many ways, but perhaps one of the most notable things about it is how applicable it is and can be in our every day lives. And although it’s not necessarily a “new” field, it is something that is gaining popularity and recognition in the lives of “normal” people, meaning those who are not scientists, researchers, programmers, etc.

At the start of next year, Lisbon, Portugal will play host to a conference on this very topic, which highlights the work being done in the field and the emerging technologies that can help Computer Vision help people. Currently, VISAPP 2014, the 9th International Conference on Computer Vision Theory and Applications, is accepting paper submissions for the conference, with its submission deadline having been extended until September 18.

Computer Vision sees faces in the clouds

Image courtesy of Shinseungback Kimyonghun
Image courtesy of Shinseungback Kimyonghun

Computer Vision has many practical uses, ranging from security enhancement to making our lives easier, but what about art?

A new project, Shinseungback Kimyounghung, was launched by two South Koreans who are using Computer Vision to find faces in the clouds. This is similar to how children often lay on their backs and point out shapes in the sky, but instead, relies on computer algorithms to spot faces.

However, while the project appears artistic on surface level, examining it deeper reveals a study comparison how computers see versus how humans see. What the end result will be isn’t yet clear at this point, but it’s an interesting and thoughtful take on the subject nonetheless.

Makeup can mask facial recognition

004795_10_fig2As advancements in facial recognition are made, many people have become increasingly worried about protecting or maintaining their privacy. And while there are ways to hide or obscure a face, it has been thought by many that makeup wasn’t enough to fool that cameras.

However, researchers in Michigan and West Virginia have set out to disprove such an idea, demonstrating how makeup actually can change the appearance of an individual. While the way someone’s head is held, the expressions he or she may make, and the lighting don’t confuse computers, things such as natural aging or face-altering methods like plastic surgery can. Now, makeup can be added to the list.

This is because makeup can change the shape and texture of a face, by playing natural contours of the face up or down, changing the appearance of the quality and size of certain features, and even camouflaging identifying marks, including scars, birth marks, moles, or tattoos. Of course not a simple application of makeup is enough to do the rick, but heavy layers of makeup can be.

To find out more about this study and its aims, refer to an article on the subject that describes it in further detail.

Scramble Face service geared toward Internet users looking to protect their online presence

In a world with new computer vision-related software being introduced regularly, it’s no surprise that many consumers feel as though there is nothing they can do to protect themselves against an unwanted invasion of privacy.

However, just as companies come out with new facial recognition technology and algorithm-based programs, there are other companies that are helping customers gain a bit more control over how much of a presence they have on the web.

One example is VersusMedia, a Los Angeles-based company which launched Scramble Face in March, with a product targeted toward users wanting to locate and remove pictures of themselves that have been posted or indexed across the internet.

The premise is that in a world where potential employers and educators research applicants ahead of time, users should have some control over the content that appears on the Internet, be it something they posted or something that someone else uploaded.

Users who register with Scramble Face will upload pictures, and then pay for a 90-day period. During this time, the program continually scans the Internet for photos matching the individual, and provides a website name and number of pictures matched on each particular site.

What remains to be seen is whether the site helps with the removal process of identified photos, or simply makes users aware of images that exist, leaving them to deal with it on their own.

Accessing apps with facial recognition.

fastaccess-anywhereInternet privacy and security are important issues for just about everyone, and although creating strong passwords is a step toward keeping outsiders out of online accounts, they can still be hacked.

Companies like Sensible Vision are aware of this and have taken steps to make users feel safer. FastAccess Anywhere is the company’s newest app, available for Apple products and Androids. It relies on facial recognition technology as a replacement for passwords, logging users into sites and applications by recognizing their faces.

The idea was born out of the acknowledgement that not only is it difficult to remember passwords to various accounts, but also in recognition of how it’s not entirely easy to type in passwords on small touch screens.

In addition to facial recognition, the app also includes a “secret shape” that is chosen by the user, and used as a means of two-step verification. Users of Android devices are able to set permissions for apps of their choice so that privacy in email, banking, and social media is preserved, while gaming is still accessible by other uses the phone or device.

Facial recognition aids immigration crackdown in Australia

Image courtesy of australiantest.com
Image courtesy of australiantest.com

Illegal workers seem to be a given in various industries around the world, but now Australia has begun cracking own on those looking to exploit the system. How? With computer vision, of course.

Immigration officials in the land down under are using facial recognition software to identify people who have either created new identities or stolen those of legitimate persons in order to obtain employment.

In a recent raid on farm workers, six illegal persons were detained for over-staying their visas and working. This kind of capture not only causes problems for the illegal person, but also for the employers, who can be charges up to $66,000 for each illegal worker. Specific detail about what kind of programs are being used was not provided, but could entail collaborating with state and federal agency databases in Australia and abroad.

 

Technology used to recognize drivers and customize their experiences.

Imagine if your car could recognize you as its driver and act accordingly, customizing your driving experience.

With a new product designed by Delphi, this exact technology could be coming to your own car.

According to the company, the technology in question “uses a light source and camera to project a line pattern onto the subject’s face. The camera then ‘sees’ and records the subject’s two-dimensional (2D) facial fingerprint, comparing that image to a database of stored 2D facial fingerprints for a possible match. A ‘positive’ match with the proper stored image means the person is recognized. Recognition then triggers an action, for example, approval of a credit sale or unlocking of a door.”

Other possible uses for this are that the vehicle remembers settings, such as where the seat is positioned, what station the driver listens to, and how warm or cold the temperature should be.

However, although the technology was initially created for vehicles, it has other practical applications. Theoretically, any kind of security system requiring visual identification could benefit from this technology. What ways do you envision it being used?

Ecuador’s new voice and facial recognition system

Facial and voice recognition systems have become more prevalent over the years, but never before has an entire country taken a stand on the issue. Until now.

Ecuador is now the first country in the world to implement a countrywide biometric identification system using voice and facial recognition. In a partnership with the Speech Technology Center (STC) in Russia, the country will use these identification technologies in the war on crime.

The system in place includes a forensic database with photographs and recordings that can be matched up against any evidence in criminal investigations, by comparing samples an coming up with possible matches.

And whereas there are currently ways criminals can disguise their faces, disguising a voice is much more difficult, with a 97% accuracy in matching and identifying. Meanwhile, the two technologies used together equal a nearly infallible success rate.

Now with Ecuador on board, it will be interesting if other countries seek to have similar systems of their own in place.

Punch in and out with facial recognition

Wirelesstimeclock, a well-known seller of various time clocks for use in the workplace, has already come out with such innovative clocks as ones requiring biometric fingerprints.

These clocks not only eliminate the old-fashioned standard of “punching in” and “punching out,” but are also a way to ensure that the proper employee is clocking in, and that workplace fraud isn’t occurring.

Adding to its line of forward-thinking time clock systems, Wirelesstimeclock unveiled another new clock last month. The company’s Facial Recognition Clock touts itself as the most inexpensive of its breed in the U.S., and allows employees to punch in and out either through facial recognition, RFID badge, or pin. Not only that, but employees have access to the system via smartphone, where they can view the log and ensure that the hours they worked were properly recorded.

Ears might be the best biometric

Amid research showing that iris scans are fallible, other research is showing that it’s possible our ears might instead be the best biometric yet.

Certainly, ears aren’t perfect, but unlike other facial features, they aren’t as prone to changing over time.

Image courtesy of MethodShop
Image courtesy of MethodShop

In a paper by Mark S. Nixon, a professor of computer vision at University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science, he explains his findings. The paper, entitled “A Survey on Ear Biometrics,” explains many of the advantages ears have over other biometric identifications, including the fact that it is less intrusive.

In fact, those concerned about violation of privacy associated with facial recognition databases, eye scans, or fingerprint matching, might find ear biometrics to be much more appealing as a way of identifying and matching.