Facial Recognition on Smart Glasses is a Thing Thanks to Vuzix
If there ever was a killer app for smart glasses, I think we all could probably take a solid educated guess at what it might be: facial recognition. Imagine a day where you’d never have to experience one of those awkward encounters where you bump into someone who clearly remembers who you are, calls you out by name, and yet, there you stand, unable to connect a name with the face you’re staring at. So, you resort to those obvious colloquialisms—the buddy’s, or pal’s, or man’s—in order to skate through the conversation, ego certainly scarred along the way.
Well, Vuzix announced a major breakthrough in their attempt to get us one step closer to that day. The maker of the Blade augmented reality smart glasses and NNTC, a Dubai-based software developer, unveiled iFalcon Face Control Mobile, an app that they’re calling the world’s first fully autonomous AI-powered face recognition system. And they were able to integrate the program right onto the Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses.
First demoed at the Minister of Interior Innovation Summit in Abu Dhabi in February, iFalcon utilizes the built-in camera on the glasses to detect faces and then transmits the information to a wearable portable computer over a wireless channel. That portable computer then processes the facial images and compares them to others that are stored in a local database on the wearable computer in order to find a match. When a match is found, the program retrieves “relevant information” from the database and sends an alert to the wearer on the smart glasses.
The program is currently capable of detecting up to 15 faces per video frame in under one second, according to Vuzix. The database itself can handle up to one million unique faces, and no cloud data connectivity is required in order for the system to work. Vuzix and NNTC didn’t dive deep into what sort of information would be deemed as relevant, but in a demo video, the system displayed a headshot of the individual and a name.
Though I personally would applaud the launch of something like this at the consumer level—because I’m someone who would greatly benefit from such an application—the security concerns around a system like iFalcon clearly stand out. Also, I wouldn’t much care for having to lug around a physical database that, at present, looks the size of a large textbook. As such, and perhaps with all of that in mind, Vuzix did specifically call out that the iFalcon Face Control Mobile system is something that’s designed for law enforcement officers and security guards on patrol.
No additional details were available through the company’s statement with regard to when the system would be made available in those professional law enforcement environments, or a possible pricing structure around iFalcon. Given the sensitive nature of the product, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some political hurdles have to be overcome prior to a large-scale rollout.