NEC Corporation today announced the strengthening of its face recognition technology, already recognized as the world's most accurate (*1), with the development of a new face recognition engine that provides high-precision certification even when masks are worn.
The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has had a major impact on people's lives and economic activities. As part of this, governments around the world are encouraging the use of face masks as a basic measure to combat infections under the “New Normal." In conjunction with this, there is a need for face recognition technologies to adapt, as they are widely used for personal identification purposes in mobile devices, workplaces and a wide range of facilities.
NEC has an established history of developing face recognition technology that is compatible with face masks, but recently developed a face recognition engine that is specially designed to recognize subjects wearing face masks. Face recognition operates by extracting feature points, such as the position, shape, and size of a subject's eyes, nose, and mouth, and matching and identifying detected faces. This engine focuses on areas surrounding an individual's eyes that are not covered by masks to extract and analyze characteristics.
Once this engine detects the presence of a mask in a face image, the most appropriate facial recognition algorithm is used to extract and check the characteristics of each individual. This enables high-precision certification even when there is a mix of mask wearers and non-wearers.
NEC's internal evaluation using this engine confirmed a high recognition accuracy, with a rate of over 99.9% in 1:1 verification (*2) when masks of various colors and patterns were worn.
NEC aims to begin sales of the new engine with products that include "NEC Enhanced Video Analytics," which supports integrated solutions that combine face recognition with various image analysis functions, and "Bio-IDiom Services" (*3), which utilize a variety of face and other biometric information to provide multi-modal biometrics solutions. These products and services are the functions of the “NEC DX Platform" for integrating biometrics, video analysis, AI, and security technologies while providing comprehensive services from applications to networks.
NEC products compatible with this engine are as follows:
Product Name - Characteristics - Availability
NEC Enhanced Video Analytics - Integrated software infrastructure that combines face recognition and image analysis functions, such as crowd congestion detection, in order to efficiently build a complex video analysis solution - November 2020
Bio-IDiom Services - Services utilizing a variety of face and other biometric information in support of multi-modal biometrics - Japan market only
NEC AI Accelerator - An edge computing device that detects faces from captured images, extracts minute detail and accelerates the entire face recognition process - Japan market only
NEC plans to apply this engine for demonstration tests from the end of September at NEC headquarters for a system that links face recognition and thermal cameras at walkthrough gates managing entrances and exits.
Going forward, NEC will continue contributing to the revival of economic activities under the New Normal by providing solutions that utilize enhanced face recognition and help to promote public health, including entry and exit systems for companies, educational institutions, public facilities, commercial facilities, event venues and theme parks.
(*1)NEC Face Recognition Technology Ranks First in NIST Accuracy Testing
(*2)The rate at which biometric subjects are correctly verified at 0.00001 of the False Acceptance Rate (FAR)
(*3)"Bio-IDiom" is NEC's portfolio of biometric identification solutions, including face, iris, fingerprint, palm print, finger vein, voice, and ear acoustic solutions
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