Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New method to increase facial recognition accuracy?

From Science:

By replacing the standard photo on a person's ID with an image generated by combining several shots of the individual, a team from the University of Glasgow in the U.K. dramatically boosted [facial recognition] accuracy....

[P]sychologists Rob Jenkins and A. Mike Burton came up with a model of how the mind constructs an image of a face from repeat encounters, distilling the essence of its features into a reliable mental representation. The researchers wondered if applying the model to a face-recognition system would improve its performance....

Using a computer program, the researchers...produced an "average" image for each of the 25 celebrities by merging each person's set of 20 pictures, which had been taken over several decades under various light conditions. When they fed the averages into the system, it recognized the faces with 100% accuracy. The researchers then put the technique to a more difficult test: They constructed the average using only those images of a celebrity that the system had failed to recognize during the baseline performance test. This new average image was recognized correctly 80% of the time....

Face-recognition experts say the technique is worth exploring but needs to be tried on larger data sets. "This is too small a test set to make the claim that 100% accuracy has now been achieved," says Anil Jain, a computer science professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

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