How Does Facial Recognition Work?

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Have you noticed, many phone cameras put a box around your face indicating that it recognises a face. But a picture just consists of different colours and shapes. But then how can artificial intelligence know for sure which form is a face and which is not? Moreover, have you seen those face recognition screen locks which only open the phone for a specific person?   
ebay facial recognition
Credits : TenbyTen

Facial recognition is a fantastic technology that detects the face of an individual. While setting a face as the screen lock, a person often scans the face using the phone camera from all sides, and this gets registered in the device. Then the phone only opens for the face that it recognises. Sounds interesting? Yes, I know, you are full of questions like how does the phone recognise faces in the first place? Here’s the answer-  

How does face recognition technology work? 

A face consists of different features, as you may know, the eyes, nose, chin, smile etc. These features are unique for all. A facial recognition system uses computer algorithms to pick out specific and unique details about a person’s face. These details, such as distance between the eyes or shape of the chin, are then converted into a mathematical representation and compared to data on other faces collected in a face recognition database.

The data about a particular face is called a face template. A face template is different from a photograph because it’s designed to only include certain details. These details can be used to distinguish one face from another.    

Facial recognition systems vary in their ability to identify people under challenging conditions such as poor lighting, low-quality image resolution, and suboptimal angle of view (such as in a photograph taken from above looking down on an unknown person).  

But this system may get it wrong sometimes. An error can happen like false positive and false negative. On the other hand, if it’s a false positive, then the face recognition software may confuse someone to be you. And in a false negative error, the software may not recognise your face effectively. 

Isn’t it exciting to have facial recognition on your devices? What’s your take on it?

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