Facial recognition

Humans are exceptionally skilled at
recognising and distinguishing faces – there’s
even a special region of the brain devoted to the
task – but computers are quickly catching up.
Automatic facial recognition systems analyse
the contours of faces to identify individuals
from photos, video footage, or 3D surface maps.
The technology creates a faceprint by
measuring and mapping distinguishing
features that aren’t susceptible to alteration
with expression and don’t change with age.
These include the curve of the eye sockets, the
distances between the eyes, nose, mouth and
jaw, the width of the nose and the shape of
the cheekbones.
Because it can be done covertly and from a
distance, facial recognition is useful for
surveillance purposes, and 3D systems can
even recognise faces in darkness, at angles of
up to 90 degrees. The system isn’t foolproof
though: canny criminals can easily conceal
their faces with masks.