Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Are You Sure That Is Who You Think It Is?

Date:
September 14, 2007
Source:
British Association For The Advancement Of Science
Summary:
A new technique which enables us to identify faces more accurately could make security systems more reliable. Humans are very good at identifying faces we know. However, researchers said, we are much less accomplished when the face is unknown to us. This is almost always the case with the faces captured by CCTV cameras or used to check at a passport barrier.

Dr. Jenkins is holding up his passport picture, on the left, and his "average" picture, on the right.
Credit: Image courtesy of British Association For The Advancement Of Science

A new technique which enables us to identify faces more accurately could make security systems more reliable.

Related Articles


Humans are very good at identifying faces we know, said Dr Rob Jenkins, a psychologist at the University of Glasgow. He was delivering this year's Joseph Lister BA Award Lecture at the BA Festival of Science on September 11, 2007.

However, he said, we are much less accomplished when the face is unknown to us. This is almost always the case with the faces captured by CCTV cameras or used to check at a passport barrier.

In our burgeoning world of electronic communications, there are governmental plans to multiply CCTV cameras, electronic passport photos, and bring in identity cards. All in the name of "security".

But exactly how “secure” will we be if, in fact, we can't reliably identify the faces? One tragic example such a failure is the unnecessary killing of Jean Charles de Mendez during the July 2005 London terrorist attacks.

Our brain uses a highly specialised region to recognise familiar faces called the FFA (fusiform face area, an area of the brain nestled between the outer segment and the centre). Despite being able locate the FFA using modern imaging techniques, scientists still don't know how it works. Dr Jenkins has ingeniously side-stepped this problem.

He and his team have developed a new technique by "mimicking nature's solution" to help us out or, as he puts it, "extract the essence" of a face.

They use around 12 pictures of a single face in a variety of different environments and poses to find the "average" face. This means getting rid of anything distracting (light strength, directions) that "isn't useful information for our visual identity system", Dr Jenkins said.

From a technical view point, Dr Jenkins argues that his software is superior to that of the Home Office, which has been perfecting highly complex facial analysis programmes.

Amazingly, the "average" face has advantages over a "normal" face in almost every situation: correct matching is more frequent than for pictures or film.

Another remarkable feature of the "average" face is that it can help you recognise someone at any stage of their life. Using pictures of different ages actually makes the "average" better.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by British Association For The Advancement Of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

British Association For The Advancement Of Science. "Are You Sure That Is Who You Think It Is?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070912160642.htm>.
British Association For The Advancement Of Science. (2007, September 14). Are You Sure That Is Who You Think It Is?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070912160642.htm
British Association For The Advancement Of Science. "Are You Sure That Is Who You Think It Is?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070912160642.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins