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NEC showcases face biometrics system that takes vital signs

NEC showcases face biometrics system that takes vital signs

Biometrics developer and electronics giant NEC has presented a new facial recognition product that can take vital signs from individuals just by scanning their faces.

The product, which received the CES 2024 Innovation Award in Artificial Intelligence, estimates pulse rate, oxygen level and respiratory rate from the face within just 10 seconds. It then shows the results on the display equipped with a camera. The product was introduced at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada by NEC Fellow Hitoshi Imaoka, Reuters reports.

“In recent years, the population of the world has been aging rapidly and the number of elderly people is increasing,” says Imaoka. “I think it’s probably difficult for an elder to wear a device like a smartwatch. So we wanted to create a system that can examine people’s health status just by the look of their faces, and that’s why we are exhibiting it here.”

NEC is currently focusing its efforts on multimodal biometric authentication which combines face recognition and iris recognition to achieve even higher accuracy, according to Himaoka. The scientist was interviewed last year after the company’s technology was used at a G7 meeting in Takasaki, Japan.

“Systems combining face recognition and iris recognition present the advantage that registration and authentication can be completed in a single step,” he says. “Since the same is true for hand systems combining fingerprint authentication and finger vein authentication, NEC is actively at work on both facial systems and hand systems.”

The company believes that facial recognition will expand beyond access control use cases, including stores, transportation and online identity verification. Multimodal biometric authentication will likely be used for high-volume payments requiring stricter standards and entering secured facilities, according to the AI expert.

NEC is also working on commercializing a gateless access control system which means no more flapper gates. Unlike conventional face recognition which requires that each person be authenticated individually, a multimodal biometric authentication method can combine person-matching technology and tracking individual characteristics like people’s clothes or the way they move. This makes it possible to track large numbers of people in real-time and can lower congestion.

“If two-level authentication is incorporated into this system, it will be possible to allow people to freely pass through the first level and only let in those who are qualified to enter at the second level,” says Imaoka. “Once face recognition has been done, records are kept so as to prevent that person from entering the pay area without paying the entrance fee, or from entering the venue by impersonating another person.”

NEC’s algorithms are consistently among the top scorers in NIST Face Recognition Vendor Tests 1:N Identification.

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