While billions of people around the world wear masks every day to protect themselves from the coronavirus, traditional facial recognition systems are struggling to function. The Japanese company NEC nevertheless claims that it has succeeded in developing a new facial recognition system for which the mask is not a problem, reports Reuters.
NEC presents its new detection system
In Japan, residents didn’t wait for the Covid-19 health crisis to wear masks. On the contrary, for the citizens of the Land of the Rising Sun, it was even a habit that has long been established in their daily lives, especially with allergies. For this reason, the NEC company has been working for some time to develop a facial recognition system that can identify people even if they are wearing masks.
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Mission accomplished. The Japanese company has been marketing its mask-proof face recognition system, which promises a reliability of 99.9%, since October 2020. For operation, the system first determines whether a person is wearing a mask or not. If so, it will focus on the uncovered parts of the face (like the eyes) to verify the identity of the person being scanned. Note that the user must have previously captured a photo of their face in it for the tool to work.
When asked by our colleagues at Reuters, Shinya Takashima, associate director of NEC’s digital platforms division, said, “The need for such technology has increased dramatically due to the context created by the coronavirus. That’s why we decided to bring this technology to market. “
Currently, this facial recognition system developed by NEC can be used on the security doors of buildings, offices and other such facilities. The airlines Lufthansa and Swiss International Airlines have already received it. It should also be noted that the Japanese company is currently testing its automated payments technology in a store in Tokyo.
A system that respects the hygiene regulations more?
For Shinya Takashima, facial recognition has several advantages. First, no physical hardware is required to be lost as the user’s face is key to security. At the time of Covid-19, it is a technology that does not require contact, which allows better compliance with health regulations and, consequently, limits contamination.
At the time, NEC did not want to disclose the price of its system. In contrast, the company is targeting sales of 100 billion yen (or around $ 970 million) by 2021, thanks in part to its biometrics and video analytics business.