Android Face Recognition

Android 4.0 which has been codenamed the Ice Cream Sandwich or the ICS was formally unveiled at an event which took place in Hong Kong, along with the preview of the Samsung Nexus smartphone.

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This new Android operating system has been anticipated with bated breath as it includes a single interface for tablets and phones along with several novel technical features such as facial recognition.

Sometime after the event, the ICS software development kit was made available to the public, who can  download it from the website for Android developers. The kit will enable developers to make software and apps that are designed for ICS operating system.

Google considers ICS as the biggest overhaul of the operating system, since it was launched around three years ago. There are several new features such as an improved keyboard, better contact menus and enhanced NFC capabilities. Hence, even the most passionate of Android users will need to spend some time on the new OS to get used to it. The best feature, i.e. face detection is discussed below for your benefit.

There are a lot of new technical features that need to be ploughed through on the Samsung Nexus smartphone that comes with the ICS operating system, but the most intriguing of them is the facial recognition feature support. This capability is used by the operating system as a mechanism to unlock the screen at the appearance of the phone owner’s face. The fundamental functionality of the phone and the software to track the face has also been made available to the developers through some novel and innovative API’s. Thus the developers can use the feature even for third party apps.

A face detection listener can be set up with the help of the Camera class. This can be done with an option called the callback method that is triggered at the detection of the phone user’s face. The callback is taken through an array of data for every face that is visible. Thus, every face that is detected and viewed gets a unique ID that makes facial tracking easy and possible. This is how the different faces are distinguished as well.

In addition, there is a coordinate data that will have the position of the phone owner’s mouth, the eyes as well as the border or the silhouette of the complete face. This capability of the face detection feature to recognize and track the location of the facial features can definitely be used for a whole new set of innovative uses. For example, games that require motion control can use the face tracking feature for greater fun and adventure.

However, one may note that the face detection feature has some flaws and is more of a novelty feature than a phone security option. Google has already clarified that facial recognition is not one hundred percent secure.

There are also difficulties that you may face while trying to get the face recognized in varying degrees of light. Sometimes the feature may also face difficulties while trying to detect the correct part of the face and correlate it with the stored picture. Therefore, face detection can be considered more of a party trick rather than an effective way to unlock your smartphone.

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1 Comment

  1. What’s funny is that the iPhone 3GS had Augmented Reality apps demo’ing far before now in pleacs like New York and Berlin. This page makes it seem like the Android platform is something elite and special

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