Leading the World with Face Detection Technology
In today's society, people are surrounded by all types of machines and devices that provide many kinds of information and services. OMRON believes that it is important to create machines that are capable of adapting themselves to individual users, thus providing information services and interfaces that are optimized for each person. To make this possible, machines must be able to recognize each person and make judgments about what that particular individual needs. OMRON decided that face recognition was the best way to achieve this capability.
OKAO Vision takes a lead in the world.
When you meet someone for the first time, your first impression is generally from looking at the person's face. By looking at the person's face, you can immediately identify whether the person is male or female, the person's approximate age, and so on. If you have met that person before, you would associate the person's face with a name, and would probably be able to guess the person's overall physical health or even the person's mood or feelings.
In other words, the human face is a rich source of information that machines can use to understand people visually in much the same way that humans understand each other. OMRON was quick to focus on the immense potential of face recognition, jumping ahead of its competitors in 1995 by beginning the development of its revolutionary face sensing technology called "OKAO Vision" (which means "face vision" in Japanese). By refining and adopting its proprietary sensing technology to process facial images, OMRON has introduced a steady stream of world-leading and Japan-first technologies.
Various information that a face provides
Secrets behind the outstanding accuracy of OMRON's face detection technology.
If a machine is to extract information from a face, it must first be able to precisely identify an image that corresponds to the face. As human beings, we take for granted our ability to recognize a face, and we don't have to consciously compare different images to do so. But for machines, this is an extremely difficult task. Machines "see" a recorded face image as simply a collection of dots. The key to face identification is how to accurately extract a facial image from that collection of dots. It is precisely in this area that OMRON's face detection technology excels, giving OMRON a commanding lead over the global competition in this field.
So how is it that OKAO Vision face detection technology has given OMRON a global leadership role? The answer lies in OMRON's unique detection mechanism.
Every human face has two eyes and a mouth, for example. If the entire face image is blurred, the eyes and mouth appear darker, thinner and longer than other parts of the face.
OMRON has succeeded in developing a mechanism for quickly detecting a face by assessing varied brightness levels of different parts of the human face, thereby minimizing the volume of information required for detection. This technique based on brightness variations can be used regardless of lighting conditions or changes in facial expressions, thus assuring consistently accurate detection.
In addition, by significantly reducing the amount of information required for detection, OKAO Vision can be implemented in a single-chip configuration. This has made it possible to integrate face sensing technology into compact mobile terminals, whereas conventional technologies require a high-performance computer.
- The entire face is blurred and different parts are compared for brightness.
- Eyes are darker than cheeks and the chin is brighter than the lip.
Accurate detection of faces of any size and any number.
OMRON is committed to raising the accuracy of face detection so that OKAO Vision can be used in many different lifestyle occasions and social settings.
OKAO Vision can recognize a face even if the image is inclined or upside down, monochromatic or color, or blurred. It can even accurately detect a face of someone wearing a hat or eyeglasses, regardless of age, or even the face of someone laughing. In addition, OKAO Vision can detect multiple faces no matter how many people are in the picture, and can distinguish a human face from other face-like images, such as a Mickey Mouse character or a robot. Detection is possible for any face size from full screen size to a minimum of 20 x 20 pixels, all with an amazing accuracy of 95% or higher. This means that OKAO Vision can detect almost any face that a human can.
Once the face detection technology has located the face image, the next step is identifying who that face belongs to and what kind of a person he or she is.