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Facial recognition security to keep handset data safe

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Reported By Stewart Mitchell in PCPro – Article from
http://gsirak.ee.duth.gr/index.php/archives/163

Mobile phone security could come face-to-face with science fiction following a demonstration of biometric technology by scientists at the University of Manchester.

Mobile phones carry an ever-increasing level of personal data, but PIN-code log-ins can prove weak – if even applied – leaving those details vulnerable if a handset is stolen.

Facial recognition software could change that picture drastically.

“The idea is to recognise you as the user, and it does that by first taking a video of you, so it has your voice and lots of images for comparison,” said Phil Tresadern, lead researcher on the project .

Before letting anyone access the handset, the software examines an image of the person holding the handset, cross-referencing 22 geographical landmarks on the face with that of the owner.

We had to change some of the floating point calculations to fixed points with whole numbers to make it more efficient, but it ported across quite easily

“Existing mobile face trackers give only an approximate position and scale of the face,” said Tresadern. “Our model runs in real time and accurately tracks a number of landmarks on and around the face such as the eyes, nose, mouth and jaw line.”

The scientists claim their method is unrivalled for speed and accuracy and works on standard smartphones with front-facing cameras.

Facial recognition technology is nothing new, but squeezing something so computationally complicated onto a smartphone is quite an achievement.

“We have a demo that we have shown to potential partners that is running on Linux on a Nokia N900,” said Tresadern, adding that his team had to streamline the software to make it run on a mobile phone.

“We had to change some of the floating point calculations to fixed points with whole numbers to make it more efficient,” he said. “But other than that it ported across quite easily.”

The Manchester team said the technology has already attracted interest from “someone interested in putting it into the operating system for Nokia” and that the software could be licensed by app developers for any mobile device. –> Read more

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