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UK research project to develop next generation facial recognition technology


Researchers at the University of Stirling, along with university research teams from across the UK, will participate in a £6 million (US$9.1 million) project to develop next generation facial recognition technology, according to a report by the BBC.

The university research teams will work together with the Home Office and industry specialists throughout the five-year study.

Providing their expertise on face perception, the psychologists from Stirling will examine how face recognition can improve global security and commerce.

Professor Peter Hancock of Sterling’s psychology department will lead his team of researchers in investigating how humans are able to recognize familiar faces.

Previously, Professor Hancock helped to develop EvoFIT, a facial recognition system that is widely used by police forces worldwide.

“Humans are surprisingly poor at identifying faces they don’t know, even professionals such as passport controllers have difficulty matching people to their photographs,” said Professor Hancock. “But we are much better than machines at recognising familiar faces and the challenge we are undertaking is to gain an understanding of what the process is that allows us to do this.”

The project, which is scheduled to begin in January, will also analyze the privacy implications of facial technology.

And while global security is the “prime driver” for the the project, the organizers are also hoping that it will result in commercial benefits.

“In the future it could be your bank will recognize you automatically at the cash machine and remove the need for Pin numbers,” said Professor Hancock. “The BBC are also interested in how it might make accessing their vast archive more efficient.”

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