You may already use facial recognition on your smartphone, but the technology could soon become a bigger part of everyday life. Facial recognition tech, which is a secure biometric method of identification, captures live footage or a digital image of a human face and then compares it to one saved on record to cross-check the person’s identity. This has far-reaching implications in the security world as well as a wide range of different businesses and services.
The technology works using a digital ‘faceprint’ comprised of 80 nodal points on the human face as a reliable way of capturing identifying features, such as the shape of a nose, depth of the eye sockets and size of the mouth. So far, it’s proven to be uncannily accurate!
Facial recognition technology is already widely used as an added security measure across the globe. For example, many casinos currently use smart facial recognition as do airports in several countries. The Chinese government is even trialling its use on one section of the Guangzhou Metro as an anti-theft measure and for general extra security. Soon, however, it could be used on a more casual basis.
One fast food chain in the U.S. is trialling the installation of automated kiosks using facial recognition technology to replace human cashiers. Not only can the system remember what your favourite order is, it can also automatically update any loyalty programmes and upsell new products it thinks you may be interested in. Fashion stores in China are starting to employ similar systems, negating any need for payment with cash, card or phone; instead, customers pay with their face. In situations such as these, facial recognition could help reduce customer waiting times and queue sizes in busy areas.
In the world of entertainment, Microsoft’s Kinect gaming for the Xbox 360 famously uses facial recognition as a notable feature. Kinect can sign you into the console automatically without you having to pick up a controller, and saves time when using apps, such as Skype and Twitch. Another fun use of the tech is in Byton’s concept car. This SIV or ‘Smart Intuitive Vehicle’ is described by its developers as a ‘next generation smart device,’ employing facial recognition for added security and gesture controls for a ‘hands-free’ experience.
After its success in security conscious environments, such as casinos and airports, facial recognition tech will now be used to identify athletes and other officials at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This is an anti-terrorist, added security measure and is therefore not designed for use with the public attending as spectators.
In the U.K., the company Yoti is proposing the use of facial recognition technology in bars and clubs as well as at self-service supermarket checkouts. Some facial recognition technology is so sophisticated, it can still identify someone correctly after cosmetic surgery, and can tell the difference between identical twins. You can see why age-restricted activities such as entering bars and clubs or buying alcohol in a shop would benefit from this extra level of precaution.