NEC unveils automated facial recognition system for fast athlete processing at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

NEC unveils automated facial recognition system for fast athlete processing at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

NEC has unveiled the facial recognition systems which will be used at all venues in the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to strengthen security and reduce waiting times for athletes, Reuters reports.

More than 300,000 athletes and staff will be asked to submit photographs to a database prior to the start of the games in July, 2020, and will receive identification cards with IC chips. The cards will be read by the NEC kiosks to automatically identify individuals at more than 40 venues.

The system is the first of its kind to be used at the Olympics, according to event organizers. As previously reported, the system will not be used for spectators, but will apply to event staff, volunteers, and the media, in addition to athletes. Tokyo Olympic Games’ organizers tested the technology at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“Tokyo’s venues doesn’t always have enough space for the security check or even space to wait for the security check,” says Tokyo 2020 head of security Tsuyoshi Iwashita. “When the events are happening, we expect many people to come and the weather will be very hot. This is why we introduced this facial recognition.”

The Verge reports that the system uses the NeoFace AI engine, part of NEC’s Bio-IDiom line, and that the system worked smoothly as multiple people passed quickly through it, with the screen almost immediately displaying the IC card holder’s photo.

The system was demonstrated successfully for people of various height, including people in wheelchairs, and NEC Senior Vice President Masaaki Suganuma said the technology correctly matches faces 99.7 percent of the time, regardless of the nationality of the subject.

NEC’s video face recognition received the highest performance score in testing by NIST last year.

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