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Facial Recognition – How it Works

Previously, the use of facial recognition was only a myth that existed in science-fiction movies. The thought of it actually being a part of our daily lives was considered as mostly impossible. However, the idea has now safely transitioned into the real world and is now one of the most widely-used for image analysis today.

Although many people still consider it to bring more disadvantages, such as leaking private information via intelligence gathering; many of them are ironically being used to protect us from potential threat. For example, having the innovative feature called ‘access control’ is considered as one of the most prevalent uses of facial recognition. Being able to unlock your phone using facial recognition is another great example of using this technology to protect you privacy. Soon, you may be able to withdraw cash from an ATM just by looking at the machine’s screen.

Then again, the whole process of facial recognition software is not that hard to comprehend. It identifies unique facial features to perform certain tasks. Additionally, even though the process is not hard to understand, it still processes in long steps, but mostly boils down to the following stages:

Face detection

the system first identifies each part of the image or video content that it presented to it. The content has to represent a face for the system to commence operation.


then the data collected by the system is transformed into a monolith format.

Feature extraction

In order for the system to give results of the operation, it has to extract meaningful data from the digital content that contained a face. It works further to identify the most relevant pieces of data and ignores all the irrelevant ones. The process can also be called as “encoding”.

Face recognition

this is the actual process where the system matches unique data features from each person. The process is called object classification, otherwise known as face recognition.

However, these main steps are just the central idea of how the process of facial recognition actually works. In reality, the process requires a number of measurements and technological steps to scan different kind of faces using thermal imaging, 3D face mapping, cataloging facial features (also known as landmarks), analyzing geometric proportions of facial features, marking the distance between main facial features, and skin surface texture analysis. It’s important to point out that facial recognition technology does falls under the category of biometrics, or otherwise known as the measuring of biological data.

What is Facial Recognition Technology Used For?

Facial recognition software has a number of applications in which it is used. However, these days it’s mainly used for security and law enforcement purposes. For example, airports use facial recognition software to search for individuals that may be suspected of crimes and to compare passport photos with their real-life faces to confirm identities. Not only that but law enforcement workers use the technology of facial recognition software to identify and arrest people who have committed crimes. Other than these, there are more ways facial recognition is and will be used in the future.