Skip to main content

Face Detection and Face Recognition

A developer at Apple made a comment on Twitter about iOS5 including Face Detection technology.  He said very clearly that it was face detection, and in fact elaborated a little bit later (in a conversation about technology in MacOS) that it was face detection and not face recognition

This was picked up by the blog 9to5Mac, and spread from there to other blogs.  9to5Mac reported correctly that the tweet referred to face detection, but then the story switched into a discussion of face recognition in iOS5.  Soon everyone was writing that iOS5 would have face recognition technology built-in. A few of these articles are here, here and here, but there are lots more. (Note, by the way, that some writers got the distinction correctly, such as this article.)

The point is that face detection and face recognition are two very different technologies.  Face detection is finding faces in a picture, like when your digital camera draws a square around faces and tries to focus on them. Face recognition is seeing whose face is in the picture.

Yes, it's true that Apple acquired Polar Rose last September, and Polar Rose has some very strong face recognition technology.  So it makes perfect sense to speculate that Apple will come out with face recognition in iOS.  But a tweet about face detection doesn't say anything about face recognition.

It's also true that face recognition on mobile is a hot area that's likely (in my opinion) to explode by the end of 2011.  Google's recent acquisition of PittPatt is only the latest of several face recognition companies that Google has acquired over the years. has strong technology in the area, and Facebook is in the process of rolling out increasingly strong versions of face recognition.  Possible applications on cellphones include phone security (instead of a password), auto-tagging people in pictures before posting them to Facebook, sending pictures automatically to people whose faces are in the pictures, and much more. 

So yes, face recognition is a really hot area, and yes, it's likely that Apple will bring it to iOS and Google will bring it into Android.  Apple may even bring it to iOS5. But even when we're reading tweets it's important to read carefully.  Face detection is exciting enough, and will undoubtedly lead to lots of great apps.

Popular posts from this blog

Intel demos indoor location technology in new Wi-Fi chips at MWC 2015

Intel made several announcements at MWC 2015, including a new chipset for wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi) in mobile devices. This new chipset, the 8270, include in-chip support for indoor location positioning. Below we explain their technology and show a video of it in action. With this announcement, Intel joins Broadcom, Qualcomm and other chip makers in moving broad indoor location positioning into mobile device hardware.

The transition of indoor location positioning into chips is a trend identified in the newest Grizzly Analytics report on Indoor Location Positioning Technologies, released the week before MWC 2015. By moving indoor location positioning from software into hardware, chips such as Intel's enable location positioning to run continuously and universally, without using device CPU, and with less power consumption.

Intel's technology delivers 1-3 meter accuracy, using a technique called multilateration, generating a new location estimate every second. While 1-3 meter …

Seeing Quuppa's indoor location technology at MWC 2015

I first met Fabio and Kimmo from Quuppa in 2012, before Quuppa existed, when they had spent years researching indoor location positioning technologies at Nokia Research Center. Less than a year after that they formed Quuppa, independent of Nokia, to bring their technology to market. At the time I called Quuppa "the newest and oldest in indoor location positioning."

Fast forward two and a half years. Their technology has reached market, it can now track both smartphones and BLE devices, and it's accurate to within 20-50cm. Before reading more about their technology, take a look at a video of their demo in action:

Grizzly Analytics has analyzed indoor location technologies by over 150 companies, and virtually all of the radio-based technologies operate by measuring the distance between the device being tracked and other radio devices, and using these distance measurements for either multilateration or fingerprinting. For example, the well known BLE beacons measure a device…

Robot Camera Foreshadows an Era of Location-Aware Electronics

A French company called Move 'N See produces a line of camera robots. Their devices act as a smart tripod, holding a video camera and automatically moving and zooming the camera as people of interest move around a site.

The idea is simple but amazingly innovative. Photo selfies are easy to take, but video selfies are next to impossible. How can I video myself playing football or doing gymnastics, without setting the camera so far back as to be useless? Do spectators want to spend an entire sporting event carefully videoing their friend or relative moving around the field?
Enter Move 'N See's "personal robot cameramen." Their devices aim, pan and zoom a video camera as one or more people move around an area. The people of interest wear armbands whose locations are tracked, enabling the camera controller to know where to aim the camera. The camera controller also includes enough smarts to adjust the camera smoothly and to capture multiple people evenly. The armband…