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Photo Recognition Software

Discussion in 'Advanced techniques for experienced users' started by AndyMick, May 11, 2014.

  1. AndyMick

    AndyMick LostCousins Star

    We know DNA is useful in certain cases for matching relatives. One obvious expression of DNA is the facial appearance. Does anyone know if anything has been done in the way of facial recognition software for family history purposes?

    I do wonder about its usefulness - I have photos of my grandmother, both as a young lady and as an old lady, and I'm not sure I would connect them to the same person!
    • Great question Great question x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. emjay

    emjay LostCousins Member

    I also have pictures my great grandma from : 1916,abt.1925,abt.1935,and a few from the late 1940s. If I didn't know better, I'd say the earlier ones were of a different
    person to the photos in the 1940s. She was in her fifties in 1916 and died aged 85 (on death certificate) in Jan 1949. I last saw her in the summer of 1948.
  3. GillW

    GillW LostCousins Member

    Another question re photos taken of an ancestor at different ages – which ones do members use for that person on their tree? I have several of my grandfather as a very handsome young man, but on the tree I use a ‘grey-haired’ photo of him because I don’t have any of my grandmother as a young person, and feel the photos of a couple should ’match’.
  4. alanmack

    alanmack LostCousins Member

    I agree it is a good idea to 'pair' the couples (but what do you do with second marriages etc.?) but generally I prefer to show young to middle aged adults where possible. i.e. in the prime of life so to speak.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Stephen Littlejohn

    Stephen Littlejohn New Member

    I have a photo of a young man whom I think may be my great grandfather. I have many other pictures of him but all are of a later date and I cannot be sure the young image is of him. I would welcome some facial recognition software or a way of aging the likeness.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    Facial recognition software is still very very much in its infancy, at present typically such software can tell male from female and recognise faces it has been trained on. However we are still probably a good 10-20 years away from software that could look at an old photo and accurately determine if it matches a later photo.

    Software you'll have seen on telly or worse on smartphones, that "age" a photo is not a lot more than random guesswork. Like psychics etc such software is "for entertainment purposes only".
  7. Stephen Littlejohn

    Stephen Littlejohn New Member

    Thanks for your knowledge and comments Alexander.
  8. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    The most visible form of "facial recognition" is the automated passport control booths. However this is just pattern matching software rather than real facial recognition. ie: it takes a photo of you standing there and compares that to the information stored on the chip on your passport. It is far easier to compute a value for a new picture its just taken and compare that value to a previously recorded value, than it is to compute a value for a face, then "age" that over several years with all the many many variables that entails and the take compute another value for a different picture and try to match them.

    Think of taking holiday snaps and the number of different looks you get over the course of a week or a fortnight, different angles facial expressions etc all mount up to even make it difficult for a human to tell if its the same person. Our brains are hard wired to understand faces and recognise facial patterns and expressions, computers have a lot of catching up to do but its an active field of research due to the practical applications in security and other areas.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  9. AndyMick

    AndyMick LostCousins Star

    Thanks Alexander - I can't keep up with technology like I used to :(

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