Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Applying biometric technology to a human problem, conceived by...what's-his-name

For the last fifteen years, I have been involved in large-scale applications of biometric technology, and haven't really been involved with the low end of the market - access control, school lunches, and the like. However, the past few years has seen the application of biometrics in the consumer market. "Average Australian" blogger Daniel Bowen may have hit upon another consumer application.

Now, to come up with a product, you need to make sure that it solves a problem. And Daniel has a problem:

At lunchtime yesterday I passed one guy in the street who I knew I knew, but couldn’t quite place. He knew me too; we exchanged grins. Thinking about it later, I’m pretty sure I’ve worked out where he’s from.

In his wanderings, Daniel ran into four people, and was only able to positively identify one of them.

Enter some of the new cool augmented reality software that we've seen lately; see my July 27 post TAT is really freaking people out - why? This is the background behind Daniel's proposal:

Maybe someone can come up with a pair of sunglasses with a heads-up display and face-recognition software of some kind for this type of thing.

Daniel's concept of how this would work can be found on Flickr. (Because this blog is a commercial enterprise, I could not embed it in this post, but I strongly encourage you to click through and look at the picture. I promise you won't be rickrolled. Unless Daniel runs into Rick on the street, which could conceivably happen.)

Frankly, I could use this product. If you ever run at me at a conference, you'll notice that I'm the person who is constantly wearing a name tag. That's because I'm so bad at names that I act as if others are equally bad at names and therefore need the constant reminder of who I am.

And let's face it, glasses with embedded facial recognition look more cool than name tags.
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