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Jan 07 2021

New facial-recognition technology

In the pandemic times we are all living, where the obligation to wear a mask is a new reality, a powerful new facial recognition system is able to recognize and identify people even when wearing a mask.

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When the pandemic really took hold, it became clear that the facial recognition systems already on the market weren’t up to the challenge of identifying people who covered the bottom half of their head with a face mask. But now, Business Insider reports, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seems to have cracked the problem with a system simply dubbed “West.”

 

The DHS is framing the tech as a matter of public safety, as it could theoretically monitor airline passengers without them taking off their protective coverings. “It may reduce risks for many travelers, as well as the frontline staff working in airports, who no longer have to ask all travelers to remove masks,” stated Arun Vemury, director of the DHS Science and Technology Directorate’s Biometric and Identity Technology Center, in a press release.

 

At best, the technology identified 96% of masked passengers, compared to almost 100% of unmasked passengers, according to results from the 2020 Biometric Rally, hosted at a DHS-affiliated testing laboratory. The tests evaluated 60 combinations of various cameras and algorithms used to identify a person. This new technology is a great improvement over the typical facial recognition systems developed before the pandemic, which could only recognize 50 to 80 % of people wearing a mask.

 

Based on the results, organizations that need to use facial recognition technology could allow people to keep their masks on, reducing the risks for many travelers and frontline staff working at airports, Vemury said. The data from the 2020 Biometric Rally was preliminary, and more will be released in the future.

 

Nuno Costa

 

About the Author:

Nuno Costa

Senior Channel Business Development Associate

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