Don't Smile! Face Recognition Rules

By John Honovich, Published May 24, 2009, 08:00pm EDT

While facial recognition for identification verification (like Driver's Licenses) continues to expand, the technology suffered a PR black eye this week. A number of US states are now banning smiling for driver's license photos. Unsurprisingly, the public and the mainstream press was not happy about this. Summing up the sentiment, a popular gossip website deadpanned, "Facial recognition software operates on the principle that people never make expressions ever, and just wander the earth looking like dead-eyed zombies." Obviously, that's not technically true but it does express a significant limitation in today's analytics - differences that appear minor to humans can be very hard for computers to discern.

This is not unique to facial recognition as a similar issue exists with License Plate Recognition. In selecting LPR, you need to verify that the LPR system has been optimized for the license plates used in your area (size, shape, coloring, separataion of letters, etc. varies across the world's license plates). 

While there are certainly techniques in development to automatically compensate for these issues, they are not something found widely in production deployments (especially at reasonable prices).

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