COMMUNITY SITES: A Face in the Crowd

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Science  01 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5595, pp. 929
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5595.929d

In a controversial response to last year's hijackings, some airports have decided to install face-recognition systems that will scan the terminal for terrorists by comparing snapshots of passengers to pictures of known evildoers. This pair of sites (∼peterkr/FACE/face.html; focuses on the technical challenges of discerning and recognizing human faces. The Face Detection Home Page lists links to technical articles—on using neural networks to detect faces, for example—research groups and companies, free software, and databases of facial images for testing new programs. The Face Recognition Home Page offers a smaller selection of similar material. Be sure to check out the sites on prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize faces.

To speed frequent travelers through immigration, London's Heathrow airport has already tested machines that identify people by the distinctive pattern of an eye's iris. Offering a peek at this new technology, The Iris Recognition Homepage includes this eye-opening disclosure: Two recent patents describe inventions to dupe eye- recognition machines. One scheme involves changing the color of the eye by zapping the iris with a laser, the other implanting an ersatz iris.

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