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Updated: October 28, 2010 01:46 IST

Face recognition to replace passwords on mobile phones

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The software can run in any smartphone with a camera on the frontside. It takes a video of the user’s face and tracks 22 facial features. File photo: S. Siva Saravanan
The Hindu
The software can run in any smartphone with a camera on the frontside. It takes a video of the user’s face and tracks 22 facial features. File photo: S. Siva Saravanan

Software for mobile phones that can track your facial features in real-time has been developed by scientists at the University of Manchester. Eventually it will be able to tell who the user is, where they are looking and even how they are feeling.

The method is believed to be unrivalled for speed and accuracy and could lead to facial recognition replacing passwords and PIN numbers to log into internet sites from a mobile phone.

“Existing mobile face trackers give only an approximate position and scale of the face,” said Dr Phil Tresadern, lead researcher on the project. “Our model runs in real-time and accurately tracks a number of landmarks on and around the face such as the eyes, nose, mouth and jaw line.

“A mobile phone with a camera on the front captures a video of your face and tracks twenty-two facial features. This can make face recognition more accurate, and has great potential for novel ways of interacting with your phone.”

Originally intended as part of a face- and voice-verification system for access to mobile internet applications such as email, social networking and online banking, alternative uses for the device could include fun applications that, for instance, attach virtual objects to the user's face as they move around.

The new software, built on 20 years of research at the University, has been demonstrated on a Nokia N900 for the EU-funded “Mobile Biometrics” (MoBio) project.

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