Intel’s new facial recognition tool

What if we throw the passwords, credit cards, keys, multiple ID cards and IDs in the trash and replace them with … our face? This would be very convenient as our head is the only thing we cannot forget, even for the most dazed! This ideal scenario is still science fiction, but digital companies are making great strides in that direction. Proof of this is the new face recognition technology from Intel called RealSense ID. The latter is based on the RealSense camera’s depth detection, which originally functions as a Kinect camera, meaning it detects our movements so our gestures replace the buttons of a remote control. With the ID version, Intel is positioning its camera activity in the direction of facial recognition in order to secure access to devices in public places such as automated ATMs or intelligent locks.

Intel’s RealSense ID system is available for pre-order starting March 2021, starting at $ 99. There are two versions: a module that can be integrated with other products and a standalone device that is connected to a computer. .

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What about security and personal data?

However, will the technology deliver on the promise? It would not be a technical flaw preventing a user from withdrawing money as the camera does not recognize it. One could imagine a situation similar to Amazon Rekognition, where it was difficult to identify women and dark-skinned people. For its part, Intel assures us that its technology is cutting-edge: “We have conducted an extensive collection of data on all ethnic groups in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “RealSense ID would even adapt to your face over time: whether you wear glasses or not, if you have a beard one day and get shaved the next day, if you change your hairstyle, etc. And all in less than a second!

Second question: can someone steal my identity and sign up for me with a photo or video? No, affirms Intel, which states that its technology “is designed to protect privacy and protect users”. It is believed that RealSense ID contains measures to prevent incorrect access attempts with masks, photos or videos. The American company claims that its technology has a one in a million chance of misidentifying a person. Personal information is quickly encrypted and processed locally. After all, the solution should only be activated when a user arrives and can only identify a person if they have previously been registered.

RealSense ID combines active depth with a special artificial neural network, a dedicated system on a chip (SoC) and an integrated secure element to encrypt and process user data quickly and securely. Image: Intel

The diverse uses of face recognition and their dangers

Nowadays we already use face recognition in certain situations, especially to unlock our smartphones. The operation of the RealSense ID is also based on the same technology as the Face ID from Apple, namely the fact that the camera is connected to an artificial neural network that scans the outlines of the face.

Intel is not the first to try: it has already used RealSense technology as face recognition in various demonstrations, such as: For example, when inserting your face into the game Fallout 4 or unlocking a laptop with Windows Hello. The company also performs facial recognition tests on thermal imaging for medical purposes. She even plans to build wheelchairs that move using the user’s facial expressions and artificial intelligence. The application of identifying yourself on public devices would have two main advantages this time around: avoid touching public surfaces (especially during a pandemic) and increase the security of services.

Other uses of this technology are not unanimous, especially those used by government and police forces to track a person or monitor the population. This is particularly the case last year when China identified the Uyghur minority it was persecuting or was identified by New York police in the summer of 2020 to track down an activist of the Black Lives Matter movement. This topic is the subject of much debate around the world and requires precise regulation. In France, the National Commission on Informatics and Freedoms (CNIL) even insists on the need to establish a “European model”.

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