3D scanning helps (see technology section), and some systems require subjects to blink during set-up to indicate their ‘liveness.’
Another sensible measure is to support different levels of security, depending on the use case.
In low-risk scenarios, facial recognition alone might be suitable.
But where the risk is high, the system might demand multi-factor authentication such as password and fingerprint.
Let's see how facial recognition is evolving with Dimitrios Pavlakis from ABI Research.
Facial recognition evolution
Dimitrios Pavlakis, Industry Analyst at ABI Research, says the user experience should depend on the context.
“It might be okay to wake up your in-car entertainment with just your face, but maybe not to unlock the car itself. Manufacturers and algorithm developers might also ship face recognition systems with variable thresholds for different use cases and applications.
They might dial down the accuracy and increase the authentication speed in smart homes, for example, where there are a small number of frequent users, as opposed to banking or access control, where multiple users need to be identified.”
Apple is a case in point here.
While a person’s face alone can unlock the iPhone, a face scan and PIN code are required to open more sensitive services.
A good defense against the harvesting of facial data is to avoid keeping it in a central database.
This is why many systems store the numerical code locally – inside a secure enclave in the device itself.
For example, in a phone, an embedded secure element (eSE) is a tamper-proof chip that lives in the chipset or SIM card.
It can only be accessed with strong authentication. Also, the eSE never shares the code with an application.
Instead, if a service wants to verify the user is authentic, it merely receives a yes/no answer.
The technology may be commonplace for opening up a phone or gaining entry to secure locations. But facial recognition has the potential to develop in many other unexpected ways. Here are six...
Keep taking the tablets
Can facial recognition help people to take their medication as prescribed? US company AiCure thinks it can. It has created an app that asks patients to film themselves taking their drug. The app identifies the patient, then identifies the prescribed drug and visually confirms it has been ingested. Physicians can then examine time stamp data to ensure all patients are keeping up with their treatments.
Save the chimps
Conservationists are using facial recognition to tackle the illegal trade in chimpanzees. They have developed a ChimpFace algorithm with a database of 3,000 ape mugshots. They hope the tech will help fight the criminal networks that smuggle an estimated 3,000 great apes every year.
Find missing children
Police in New Delhi identified nearly 3,000 missing children after just four days of a trial using facial recognition. They checked 45,000 children and matched them to 2,930 who were recorded as missing.
Help the blind ‘see’
Mouthwash brand Listerine created a mobile app that uses facial recognition to help blind people know when someone is smiling at them. The app scans a face and then beeps and vibrates when it senses a smile.
US researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) successfully used facial recognition software to diagnose DiGeorge Syndrome. They mapped 126 individual features to make correct diagnoses 96.6% of the time.
Make ads better
As facial recognition improves, it will be able to detect the emotional state of the subject. Marketers are already exploring the potential of this breakthrough. In 2016, the online travel company Expedia unveiled the ‘Discover Your Aloha’ microsite. It asked viewers to install bespoke facial recognition software, and then watch a holiday video. Based on the results, Expedia made a customized travel recommendation for individual customers.