Even Mask-Wearers Can Be Identified, China Facial Recognition Firm Says

A Chinese firm says it has developed the nation’s first facial recognition know-how that may establish folks when they’re sporting a masks, as most are nowadays due to the coronavirus, and assist in the battle towards the illness. China employs a few of the world’s most subtle methods of digital surveillance, together with facial recognition. But the coronavirus, which emerged in Hubei province late final 12 months, has resulted in nearly everybody sporting a surgical masks outside within the hope of fending off the virus – posing a specific downside for surveillance.

Now Hanwang Technology, which additionally goes by the English title Hanvon, stated it has come up know-how that may efficiently recognise folks even when they’re sporting masks.

“If connected to a temperature sensor, it can measure body temperature while identifying the person’s name, and then the system would process the result, say, if it detects a temperature over 38 degrees,” Hanwang Vice President Huang Lei advised Reuters in an interview.

The Beijing-based agency stated a workforce of 20 employees used core know-how developed over the previous 10 years, a pattern database of about 6 million unmasked faces and a a lot smaller database of masked faces, to develop the know-how,

The workforce started work on the system in January, because the coronavirus outbreak gathered tempo, and commenced rolling it out to the market after only a month.

It sells two most important sorts of merchandise that use the know-how. One performs “single channel” recognition that’s greatest used at, for instance, entrances to workplace buildings.

The different, extra highly effective, product is a “multi-channel” recognition system that makes use of “multiple surveillance cameras”.

It can establish everybody in a crowd of as much as 30 folks “within a second”, Huang says.

“When wearing a mask, the recognition rate can reach about 95%, which can ensure that most people can be identified,” Huang stated, including the success fee for folks with out masks is about 99.5%.


An enormous buyer, not surprisingly, is the Ministry of Public Security, which runs the police.

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Using Hanwang’s know-how, the ministry can cross-reference pictures with its personal database of names and different data after which establish and observe folks as they transfer about, Huang stated.

“It can detect crime suspects, terrorists or make reports or warnings,” he stated.

But the system struggles to establish folks with each a masks and sun shades, he stated.

“In this situation, all of the key facial information is lost. In such cases recognition is tough,” Huang stated.

The firm has about 200 purchasers in Beijing utilizing the know-how, together with the police, and count on scores extra throughout 20 provinces to start out putting in it quickly, Huang stated.

It isn’t instantly clear how Chinese residents are reacting to this new know-how.

When it involves different surveillance instruments getting used within the battle towards the coronavirus, there was some grumbling on social media however most individuals appear to be accepting further intrusion, and even embracing it, as a way to cope with the well being emergency.

Although home clients have been driving Hanwang’s enterprise, Huang additionally stated he anticipated extra overseas curiosity, because the virus spreads around the globe and extra folks put on face masks.

“It not only benefits Chinese people, but also, when the technology is applied globally, it can benefit the world,” he stated.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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This post was last modified on March 9, 2020 5:21 pm

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