NEC is working on face recognition technology that helps detecting human faces even if they have aged substantially or gained weight over the years. In a benchmark test [PDF] conducted by the US Department of Homeland Security, the technology boasted 92% accuracy from a 1.6 million person criminal database, and 95% accuracy from a 1.8 million person database consisting of visa applicants.
The percentage of error stood at just 0.3% in the test based on the criminal database, while second-ranking Cognitec Systems (from Germany) had an error rate of 2.5%. NEC’s solution was ranked first overall in the benchmark test.
NEC says they largely focus on an individual’s eyes, mouth, or nose, while largely ignoring certain other features, for example the eyebrows. The Nikkei (Japan’s leading business daily) tested the technology just recently if it’s able to recognize the face of an NEC researcher through photos that were taken in 1987 and 2010 (it was, the pictures on the left are the ones that were used).
NEC now expects the technology to be used for crime investigations or immigration control, for example.