Facial recognition in simple words is a biometric technology which has a sole purpose to identify the human faces through images or video. This system analyzes the characteristics of a person’s image that are captured through any digital services and maps down facial features. This process helps in identifying the personal identity of individuals. This software works on higher end algorithms which enables the comparison of a live person or a digital image to the stored facial data. According to a report, Facial Recognition market is expected to rise to $9.6 billion industry and is expected to attain a rigorous growth by the year 2022. Currently, this technique is highly used in security and in the marketing avenues but it is likely to flourish in other sectors as well.

Facial recognition over the years

Manually through Bledose in 1960

Woodrow Wilson Bledsoe is often known as the generator of facial recognition. He would access the pictures through a manual tablet termed as RAND that would create coordinates on the grid through a stylus. The system would manually classify facial features viz. eyes, nose, head, etc. This process was further updated in 1970s by Goldstein, Harman, and Lesk it used 21 subjective facial marks to identify the faces automatically.

Eigenfaces – (1980-90)

The year 1988 brought further improvement to the facial recognition technology as two mathematical analysts Sirovich and Kirby developed low dimensional facial representation. They were able to show the analysis of features which would generate a picture. In 1991 Turk and Pentland expanded the Eigenfaces approach by discovering how the faces can be detected. This amendment actually can be called as the step towards first automatic face recognition.


FERET Program

This program was generated by The U.S.A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and was termed as FERET program. Through this project, a database of facial images was created and it excellently outperformed all the previous developments. This was a high-end face scanning experience which evaluated the high-resolution images and face scans which would easily identify even identical twins.

Super Bowl (2002)

By this time facial recognition was seen as an established feature. In the year 2002 law enforcement officials used this technology to run a test to detect criminals. Super bowl, program, however turned out to be a failure as it was not suitable to identify in the large gatherings.

Law forensic database (2009)

In 2009, a U.S based Pinellas County Sherriff’s office created a database for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor vehicle. This database enabled users to create a database that could be checked against the suspects. This advancement led to much more criminal investigation and arrests.

Social Media (present)

Popular social media platform Face book implemented the feature of facial recognition to identify users’ daily featured photos. This got a backlash from public infusing privacy concern.

Mobile Face Recognition

Mobile phone recognition came into being in 2005 by OMRON Corporation when a technology named “OKAO Vision Face recognition Sensor” was launched at a “Security show in Japan”. This was world’s first face recognition technology for a mobile. However it never got due recognition until 2017 when iphone X was released. This got the world moving.

How facial recognition technology works

Facial recognition technology works on mathematical algorithms which go through several stages of visual processing. It works on biometric identification of data through voice, iris, fingerprint etc which is further analyzed by computer. Comparisons are created with specific set of already existing data. If the program finds a similarity drawn amongst sample and existing database a match is declared.


The technology is segmented into 2D, 3D and facial analysis.

Hardware Technology

  • Camera devices
  • Scanners
  • Smart devices like Mobile phones, smart gear etc.
  • Integrated devices like video card, sound card.



  • Security services
  • Crime detection
  • ID management
  • Web development
  • Visual Indexing
  • Banking Sector etc.

Advantages of facial recognition technology

1. Prevent retail crime

Facial detection is helpful in identifying the shoplifters or people with a record of retail fraud. Photographs of the suspects can be matched against database of existing criminals to prevent loss and assist security professionals.

2. Identity validation at ATM

This has been a forecast since a long while that facial recognition technology will replace ATM cards totally. It would also be helpful in detecting that card holder himself is using the card. Currently face recognition ATM’s are installed at Macau to safeguard people’s identity.

3. Tracking school attendance

This system was incorporated by China to ensure their students are on time and are not skipping the lectures. Tablets are used to identify and validate students’ identity.

4. Protection from school threat

Facial recognition technology helps in identifying the expelled students, drug dealers etc which would further help in maintaining the school safety.

5. Helping impaired

This feature can be really helpful for visually impaired individuals. It can help them analyze the social situations like people smiling, frowning, staring etc. It would alert the individual with vibration.

6. Find missing persons

Face detection can be helpful in finding the missing kids and sufferers of human trafficking. If the information about missing individuals is available in the database any missing individual can be traced or an alert can be directed towards common public spaces.

7. Hassle free air travel

To improve the airlines services the industry is already using facial recognition. Recently Shanghai airport launches China’s first security clearance system using facial assessment. In a separate event in 2017, New York based custom carrier Jetblue along with the custom and border protection force tested a paperless travel simply through facial recognition.

Popular Organizations already using face recognition technology


Applications of Facial recognition


Cashless payments have always been infused in the market long ago. In 2016, Master Card launched a new Selfie pay app known as MasterCard identity check. A popular Chinese e-commerce Alibaba which is already working on VR technologies and payment software Alipay are planning to create a face detection payment mode. In KFC stores in China people scan their faces to buy their order since 2017. China being the leading industry is now coming up with payments in sub way for Shenzen Metro. The process would involve a simple face scanning and users fare would be automatically detected from the already linked accounts.

Access and Security

Facial biometrics have already become an integrated part of our mobile system be it Apple, Samsung and Xiomi Corp . Very famous car brand Jaguar is already planning to come up with walking gait –ID. This innovative facial security is helpful in handling sensitive data and acts as a vigilante for the organization.

Criminal identification

FBI has access to the data base of U.S citizens which help them easily identify and detect any suspicious movement. Also AI supporting cameras have been installed in U.K to identify any illegal activity like smuggling, drugs etc


Facial recognition technology is allowing user to analyze customer’s demographics and place the advertisement according to their matched profile. For instance if the customer is a male between the age of 13 to 20 any FIFA game ad might appear. One of the famous Grocery is planning to install Optimeyes screen at petrol stations to target ads to the right customers.


In the field of medicine through video recognition any illness can be easily detected by analyzing facial features of the user. It would help in erasing the long waiting queues at hospitals and would simplify the process of appointment.

We got aware of Facial recognition may be through social media like Facebook but the technology is in existence since two decades. Its application has grown due to growth of various technological sectors, penetration of smart phones, VR, AR, AI etc. It’s amazing and interesting to see how easy our lives are getting with the growth of Facial and Video recognition. It is believed that facial recognition industry is going to build a much transparent and secure system in our lives.

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