2014 Year in Review: Top 5 Applications of Facial Recognition

March 3, 2015 - 

This is a guest post by Ian Koskela, CEO of Face Data, Inc.

Facial recognition is not necessarily a new technology – some of the technology’s earliest roots date back to the mid ’60s, when a trio of scientists created the first system for automated facial recognition. Despite its age, the technology has seen explosive interest in the last decade, and recent projections have the facial recognition market valued at $2.19 billion by 2019.

In 2014, countless apps, services and new technologies were launched with facial recognition at their core. Here are five of the most intriguing new applications of facial recognition last year, which prove that the potential for innovation within the market is still incredibly vast:

Basketball Video Game Uses Facial Recognition to Put the Player in the Game

One of the most notable examples of facial recognition in the video games industry came in the fall, when the latest game in a long-running basketball series, NBA2K15, launched with a tantalizing promise: scan your face and play alongside your favorite athletes. The game utilized the Xbox One and Playstation 4’s first-party stereoscopic cameras to capture the player’s face from multiple angles. After that, the game processed the player’s face using 3D mapping, so that – hypothetically – the player could put their face in the game. While the results were sometimes less than optimal, there’s an important lesson here: the video game industry is paying attention to facial recognition technology, and it’s only going to get better from here on out.

Vending Machine Company Brings Facial Recognition to the Table

Hungry, but left your credit card at home? There’s a vending machine for that – at least, in certain parts of the UK there is. As vending machines are all about convenience, it seems like such a natural fit that it’s surprising no one’s thought of it before. And yet, this goes beyond just convenience. According the company, the use of facial mapping technology will enable the machines to provide or prevent distribution of certain products based on factors such as age, or dietary requirements, making it a perfect fit for schools and hospitals: convenience and health in one facial recognition wrapped package.

Facial Recognition Monetization System Rescues Comedy Club’s Falling Revenue

When a Spanish comedy club in Barcelona found itself struggling to cut a profit in the wake of new government-imposed taxes on theatre tickets, the club decided to take an innovative route: they partnered with another company to create a world-first “pay-per-laugh” system. By affixing facial recognition-powered tablets to the back of each seat in the theatre, the company was able to eschew the traditional ticket pricing model, and only charge a customer when they laughed, up to a cap of 24 euros, or 80 laughs. It’s apparently been an incredible success for the comedy club, with revenue well up from where it was with the old ticket system.

Artist Uses Facial Recognition to Project “Digital Makeup” on Model’s Face

Who said facial recognition technology had to be all about business? CGI artist Nobumichi Asai and his team of cohorts set the web buzzing last year when they released an astonishing video, depicting real-time “digital makeup” projected onto a model’s face. Though details of just how the feat was pulled off are still fairly scarce, it seems that a combination of face mapping and CGI were used in order to project a video onto the model’s skin, which then conforms to the shape of her face even as she moves her head. Asai is only getting started, too – already this year, he’s released a second video, which is arguably even more impressive than the first.

Scientists Put Facial Recognition Algorithms to Work in Diagnosing Malaria

Malaria remains a serious condition in many parts of the world, with over 200 million new cases each year. And yet, a time consuming case-by-case analysis has still long been the best method of detection. In attempt to address this issue, researchers put the same algorithms used in facial recognition to work in creating a new malaria diagnostic tool, which has reportedly been proved accurate by WHO standards, and greatly speeds the process. This is a prime example of how progress in one industry can translate to a breakthrough in a seemingly completely different trade.
Again, this is just a minute slice of what happened in the facial recognition industry during 2014, and the innovations are showing no sign of slowing down. 2015, no doubt, will be just as exciting, and I can’t wait to see how facial recognition technology continues to the push the envelope and shape the world around us in the years to come.

DISCLAIMER: BiometricUpdate.com blogs are submitted content. The views expressed in this blog are that of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BiometricUpdate.com.

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About Ian Koskela

Ian Koskela is the CEO of Face Data, Inc., a company devoted to the responsible exploration & application of facial recognition technology & data, & the creator of Face Guardian, helping individuals monitor the usage of their image online. Contact Ian at ian@facedata.com.