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Science!: Masks, Pills and Prescient Frogs

Lauren Admire | 5 Apr 2010 21:00
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Robin Would Have Failed a Face Detection System

Those folks hoping to don a face mask and become an incognito firm hand of justice a la Green Lantern or Ms. Marvel should take the following research into consideration: Some masks are just more effective than others, due to the parts of the face they obscure or alter.

Adam Harvey, a designer and technologist at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, has been anticipating the day when smartphones will be able to pick out and identify random faces on the street, subway or ComicCon using face detection software. Using reverse engineered algorithms, Harvey has created a few blocky images that have successfully subverted current face detection technology. He's pinpointed the patterns which cause face-detection technologies to fumble, and they're surprisingly simple.

For instance, a fake beard may be a decent fa├žade in a spy flick, but apparently wouldn't hold up against a robust face detection system. Ditto goes for the Robin-style domino mask and eye makeup. What does work, however, are masks or makeup specifically around the eye region, mostly alternating patterns or asymmetrical stylings.

Source: Popular Science

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