Face recognition is the most obvious approach to identification but it suffers from a major drawback – shadows and bad lighting. If there is inconsistent lighting in a room or on a face then it becomes difficult to produce reproducible digital image of the face for face recognition algorithms to work with. Now, researchers in China have turned to near infra-red to help computers cope with variable lighting conditions and so recognize even the most shadowy of faces.
Face recognition is a key function of the human brain…let me put it another way, from a very, very early age we can all recognize faces, from the familiar view from mother’s knee to spotting a friend in a crowd. Computers too can process a digital image and compare it with a database entry to carry out simple face recognition. But only if the light is right. Throw in a few shadows, sunlight through a window, or a flickering overhead fluorescent light, and the computer usually cannot spot the difference between John Doe and Joe Bloggs. Stan Li believes the answer lies in the near infra red, you can find out more tomorrow in the latest issue of spectroscopynow.com or get an advance view here.