Monday, September 04, 2006

Ok, before I start this post, I need some reader feedback.

From my stats, comments and email, I can see I have a pretty mixed bag of readers. In fact, the sheer variety of types of readers I have is astounding, considering you’re such a small group.

Basically, I’ve been thinking of setting up a separate blog to house all my video-game and tech posts. I know that gaming and tech doesn’t really interest the majority of you fine people.

So if you read this, leave me a comment and let me know what you think

…and on that note, here’s another tech post.

It’s been a week for technology for me. First I had a complete nerdgasm over Phillips new 3D TV, and today I stumbled across something on the interweb that blew me away.

Well, two things, really…both using the same technology.

The first was myheritage.com. It’s a genealogy website, not too spectacular, but it does something different.

Instead of searching names and dates, you can upload a photo of yourself, and using face recognition technology, it scans a database of uploaded pictures and gives you a list (including the pictures) of people who bear a strong resemblance to you.

In short, rather than searching through reams of people who share your surname, you can search for everyone with your surname, who also bears a strong family resemblance to you.

Intriguing, no?

The face recognition demo on this site is what blew me away. You upload a picture of a celebrity, and the software tells you who the picture is of. Expecting trickery, I downloaded a few pictures of celebrities, renamed the pictures and converted them to a different file type and back again…making sure I got rid of any embedded information that the software could use to cheat.

I tried five pictures, and the software had a staggering 100% success rate.

No wanting to admit defeat, I found 5 different pictures of Brad Pitt. I chose Mr. Pitt, because his look changes considerably between movies. I tried a clean-cut picture, one of him with a beard, glasses and baseball cap, one taken recently, another from when he was just starting out…

BAM! 100% success rate. It recognized him every time.

At this point, I was amazed. I should also mention that the only thing I had to do was upload the picture. No telling the software where the face was, what angle it was at or anything. From a technological standpoint, just being able to single out a face on a picture is impressive. Being able to match that faceand that’s a big distinction, matching a person’s face, and not just matching two identical pictures…is astounding.

Then, just for fun, I uploaded a picture of myself to see what it would give me back.

It gave me a 55% match to Kevin Smith, and yes, I have to admit I can see a fairly strong resemblance. For comparison, Here’s the picture of me (With a puppy Buddy doing his Chewbacca impression):




And the picture of Kevin Smith.




Again, it’s not amazingly striking, but consider this, it was looking for a match in a database where a match doesn’t exist. This picture was the closest it could find, and as it said, it was only a 55% match.

Think about this. From my picture, it matched the beard, glasses basic face shape and could also tell that I was a male. It doesn’t sound too impressive, but this is very advanced technology.

I can’t stress enough just how hard this is to actually do. It’s amazing, take my word for it.

The second part is that this face recognition technology is being used (on a very limited basis, so far) as a way to search images online.

This has numerous applications from global applications on the internet, to organizing your flickr photo album.

Basically, instead of searching photos based on how they’re titled or tagged, you can search photos on their content. Say you have a huge collection of photos, all you’d have to do is put a name to a face once, and then you’re able to search your entire collection by person.

Say you need a good picture of Aunt Mabel. Just search your collection by typing in her name, and the software would scan all your pictures, and put up a list of every photo you have that she appears in.

Oh, and the software is capable of matching and recognizing multiple faces per picture.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The same technology could be used real time on security cameras at high risk places like airports. Feed in a list of known criminals and wanted terrorists, and get an automatic alert when one is spotted.

It blew me away.

Visit www.myheritage.com to check it out.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

---Comment from OzzyC---

I say keep it on one blog. I don't have enough time to cruise my existing blogs as it is... I'd rather not track another one.

My matches:
Rob Brydon (68%)
Ewan McGregor (67%)
Ethan Hawke (59%)
Ben Affleck (59%)

mistyforeverlost said...

Although I am not a tech geek, I enjoy reading the stuff just to get some of your sarcastic sense of humor.

There is the whole problem of tech leads to life posts and where to put them? I say keep it all here.

The Girl said...

Keep it on one. I love opening the blog daily and never knowing what I'm going to get - naked drawings, dogs, family stuff or tech stuff.

Keep the writing coming!

~TG

MC Etcher said...

IMHO, multiple blogs are a pain for you and your readers - I had like 7 at one point, and it was more work than it was worth.

1 blog is usually enough.

Vicarious Living said...

::late to the party as usual::

keep it to one blog for your own sake

As for the face recognition - it's cool, but for accuracy, I could only wish it were so!

My matches:
Naomi Watts (64%)
Liv Tyler (62%)
Anna Kournikova (58%)
Amanda Holden (53%)