Facial Recognition Biometrics


Facial recognition Biometrics was introduced in the 1960’s. The US government hired a man named Woodrow W. Bledsoe to create the very first semi-automated face recognition system. The machine located key features on the face and calculated the ratios between them for identification. A decade later three men named Goldstein, Harmon, and Lesk joined forces to enhance the existing machines. They developed a 21 point check for the machines to identify and calculate the ratios between these facial structures. The 21 points included very intricate features of the face such as thickness of the lips and color of the hair. In the 1980’s facial recognition systems were beginning to become available in commercial retail. [1]

How it Works

Facial recognition starts by using a digital video camera to record a person’s face as they enter a certain area. This type of biometrics does not require anyone to physically touch a machine, just stand within a designated space. The picture is then analyzed by “comparing distances between things like the eyes, nose, mouth, and jaw edges” of a person. [2] This method compares angles and ratios of a person’s face to a database of previously collected ratios to correctly identify the individual.



Application in Business

Facial recognition biometrics is slowly creeping into many aspects of today’s world. For example, starting in 1988, a sheriff’s department in Los Angeles started the first commercial facial recognition system to combine a database of digital mug shots to help ensure arresting the correct suspect. [1] Also, after the terrorist attack of September 11th, many airports have implemented a facial recognition system. This seems like the ideal place for this type of security since it can process the large amount of traffic moving through an airport. Another system implemented after 9/11 was at the Super Bowl of 2001. The staff scanned everyone hoping to be able to identify anyone with any sort of criminal record. [4] Other ideal locations for facial recognition systems are places like “casinos, public transportation, financial institutions” or anywhere with numerous people. [3]

Future Implementation Problems

Many businesses like facial recognition biometrics since their patrons aren’t even aware that they are being screened, yet for this same reason, some patrons get upset about this invasion of privacy. Ethical problems such as this may make implementation in the future difficult. Also, advancement in media technology may prove to be an obstacle for companies that have already implemented a facial recognition system. Most systems use a 2D picture to store in their database, yet when technology advances to 3D the systems database will not combine since the files are different. Also, the more advanced technology gets, the more expensive this media equipment will get. [5]

1. Biometrics History. Biometrics. http://www.biometrics.gov/Documents/BioHistory.pdf. Retrieved 4/3/08.
2. Facial Recognition. National Center for State Courts. http://ctl.ncsc.dni.us/biomet%20web/BMFacial.html. Retrieved 4/3/08.
3. Facial Recognition Technology. C-VIS. http://www.facesnap.de/htd/frt.html. Retrieved 4/3/08.
4. What is Biometric Face Recognition? WiseGeek. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-biometric-face-recognition.htm. Retrieved 4/3/08.
5. An Introduction to Biometrics- Face Recognition. Tiresias. http://www.tiresias.org/guidelines/biometrics_face.htm. Retrieved 4/3/08.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License