Facial recognition which has been getting lots of attention in most recent times is not entirely a new invention. In fact, as early as 1960 the first experimentation was carried out on the technology and since then it has developed behind the scenes. It was not until the recent wave of smartphones and wearable that incorporated the technology for bio-metric security brought it back into the limelight.
Facial Recognition Systems today are far from the pinnacle which it can attain. However, the Facial Recognition Systems that exist today have been effective enough in the facets of life that they have been employed at. The technology has been of huge benefit in many human endeavors and can further be implemented in important sectors of society like the educational sector.
How IT works
Understanding how these systems work gives us an insight into the reasons for the successful implementations and how they could be further put into use in other aspects of society.
Facial Recognition is one of the bio-metric identification systems that are in use today. It examines the physical features of a person’s body and picks out the unique elements in it which it then makes use of to distinguish a particular individual from other people.
Facial Recognition Systems operate by taking the data (usually an image) of an unknown person which it goes on to analyze and compare against an established database of faces.
Facial Recognition basically occurs in three steps which are Detection, Face-print Creation and Identification.
It all starts by capturing an image.This captured image is sent to a computer with facial recognition software in order to identify the faces in the image.
The system analyzes this image and successfully identifies the faces in the image. The identification is not a straight forward process as it has to reorient (resizing or tilting) the image to get a clearer view of faces hidden in the image or further away from the camera.
Once the software has properly re-oriented the image, it takes a closer look at it in order to create what is known as a “Face-print”.
The Face-print creation process is very much like the fingerprint record process in which the fingerprint scanner takes record of certain characteristics of one’s finger to create a unique identification system for the individual.
In the creation of a Face-print, the set of characteristics which are scanned for to be used as identification points for the individual are elements such as the sizes and relative locations of the eyes, eyebrows and shape of the nose.
The Face-print once created is then compared against a database of images to match the identity of individuals; known or unknown.
Benefits of Facial Recognition System
Facial recognition system has been used and implemented a number of ways in various aspects of modern society which have been deemed by most as successfully and effectively. They are employed by the government in military services, law enforcement agencies and humanitarian services. Corporations and private agencies make use of them in marketing, security and health care.
Law enforcement agencies make use of Facial Recognition System in detecting threats in the crowd and averting potential disasters before they have the chance to take off. The system has been successfully employed by ‘The New York Department of Motor Vehicles’ Facial Recognition Technology Program since 2010 in snuffing out more than 20,000 identity fraud cases.
It has also been employed by a number of schools in The United States to detect sex offenders and gang members thereby creating a safer environment for kids and teachers in those schools.
Facial recognition has been employed by military across the world in several military operations. Most notably, it was employed by the US military in Afghanistan and Iraq as a tool to detect potential terrorists.
In 2011, the tool was used to aid the recovery of some individuals who escaped from an Afghan prison.
Since its success, a number of governments across the world have become more willing in incorporating it in its military operations. It has been reported that a Facial Recognition System called ASTARUS would soon be employed as a tool by the Turkish Government to be used in the identification of potential terrorists.
As wars rage on in different countries across the globe the number of internally displaced persons rises. Most of these people are thrust into a state of despair as they are separated from their families. Facial Recognition Systems can be used to help such people reconnect with their families.
The story of a 33-year-old abducted at the age of four who finally reunifies with his family after an FRS matched his photos from age four and ten further gives credence to the benefits Facial Recognition can provide for humanitarian services across the world.
Corporations and private institutions across the world have tapped into Facial Recognition Technology to bring innovative services to its customers and tighten its security.
MasterCard makes use of such systems to enable “pay by face” option. In a number of cities across the world, they are employed in supermarkets and stores to gauge customer’s reactions towards various products. Such a system has already been put to use Thailand’s biggest convenience store, 7-Eleven.
Facial Recognition Systems has contributed in developing the healthcare process in so many ways. One way in which Facial Recognition has been implemented in Healthcare is in patient and staff identification. With such systems, health institutions find it easier to identify their patients and access their medical records. This has led to swifter response to urgent cases.
Northwell Health in New York make use of iris scanning technology from right patients to eradicate errors that arise from duplicate medical records.
Implementing Facial Recognition in the Education System
Facial Recognition System can be used to record and track facial expressions of students in the classroom. Such systems can be employed to gauge perfectly when students are attentive or distracted.
This could go beyond facial expressions to analyze reaction to various topics at various points in a lecture. A student raising his eyebrows at the mention of a new word could depict confusion.Without artificial intelligence system, lecturers would be incapable of understanding such expressions.
Computer vision experts have identified the benefits that facial recognition and behavioral analysis system would bring to the educational system that is why they have begun to develop such systems already.
Enhancing Learning Experience
Such systems would be of great benefit to lecturers and students alike. As they will provide lecturers with the necessary information they need to gauge the points during the lecture in which attention waned.
- It would also help the teacher in identifying student’s anxieties and with the information provided by such a system. The teacher will be able to gauge what is going on with a student.
- Such systems would allow for a more personalized learning culture. Often times student are left behind in the course of a lesson. As a result of a timid social disposition, they are unable to voice out their opinions. These systems will aid the teachers in finding out such students in a learning environment and be able to cater for them effectively
Schools in China have already started implementing FRS in school to enhance the learning process.
In the wake of increased school shootings, Facial Recognition Systems can be used to buff up security systems. With increasing concerns for security in schools, these systems can help prevent suspicious people from gaining entering into the school and getting students picked up by per-authorized guardians and parents.
Facial Recognition Systems have been employed by the government and private institutions to great effects and this is reflected in the many benefits that trail their application. The educational system should reap the benefits of such technology.