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People used to think the earth was flat. That theory was disproved by many famous mathematicians, but before those discoveries, humans perceived the universe in two dimensions. Fast forward to today, while the earth is still round, business, an integral part of modern-day society, is still only running on engines of two dimensional data.

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The research of facial recognition has been a fascinating journey. It began in the 1960s with Woody Bledsoe, Helen Chan Wolf, and Charles Bisson who created programs to assist with basic face recognition. They were not fully automated back then, requiring the administrator to locate the key facial features such as the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth on the image being examined. The programs calculated distances and ratios to a common reference point which was then compared to set reference data.

Since those early days, many facial recognition research groups have examined various aspects of facial detections and recognition. By the 1970s Goldstein, Harmon, and Lesk were able to automate the recognition process by using 21 specific subjective markers, such as hair color and lip thickness.

Kirby and Sirovich's research in the late 1980s gave another leap forward to the nascent technology, by determining that less than one hundred values were required to accurately code a suitable aligned and normalized face.

I have found 56 locations where facial recognition research groups have been the vanguard of 21st-century research into facial analysis. Some of this research is now historic, although still freely available on the internet. In other cases, the research is ongoing, with capabilities and techniques being improved on all the time. Some of the research is very clearly focused on facial research. Some of the other studies have only a peripheral connection to the subject.

I have tried to include all facial recognition research groups whose work appears on the internet. If you know of a group that is missing from this article feel free to contact us at Kairos and I am happy to update this post.

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Who's talking about facial recognition privacy?


The biggest news in the facial recognition industry this month has been the walkout from the ongoing facial recognition privacy talks by the nine consumer/privacy representatives. While the media has widely reported the walkout, as in this New York Times article, often quoting from the privacy advocates' press statements, there has been little public comment from members of the facial recognition industry. As a strong supporter of these talks, we at Kairos would like to share our viewpoint.

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It may surprise people to know that although Kairos is still a relatively young company, it has not always focused on providing facial recognition software. In its early days, Kairos was best known for its flagship app, TimeClock.

As its name suggests, Kairos designed TimeClock to clock employees in, who are paid on an hourly basis. The TimeClock app used facial recognition technology to enable employees to clock in, to eliminate the risk of “buddy punching", which is when people clock in on for their coworkers for time when they did not actually work.

Now, TimeClock was an excellent product - make no mistake about that. However, it did not take long for the team at Kairos to discover there was far more interest in the facial recognition technology itself. There was more potential uses for facial recognition technology than just underpinning the time clock itself.

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You prick up your ears at the word "analytics".

It's something of a buzzword at the moment. Google Analytics, Moz Analytics, Pinterest Analytics, Twitter Analytics... the lists of data that analyze our online lives goes on.

If you are a marketer, I am sure that you regularly use a wide selection of valuable analytics reports to determine the successes and failures of your online campaigns.

And the developers among you, just about to click away from this post, at the mere mention of the word “marketing”, do you know analytics can help you too? Imagine the potential you have to create apps that collect and provide valuable analytics reports that your users truly love.

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