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Facial Recognition and Super Recognisers 

Facial recognition is a computer application that can be added to existing CCTV systems, it is capable of identifying or verifying a person that is wanted for a crime, this can be done using a digital image or a video frame from a video source. One of the ways to do this is by comparing selected facial features from the image and a face database.

It is mainly used in security systems and can be compared to other biometrics such as fingerprint or eye iris recognition systems. 

Cameras in mobile devices have made facial recognition a viable option for authentication as well as identification. Apple’s iPhone X, for example, includes Face ID technology, that lets users unlock their phones with a faceprint mapped by the phone's camera. The phone's software, which is designed with 3-D modeling to resist being spoofed by photos or masks, captures and compares over 30,000 variables. As of this writing, Face ID can be used to authenticate purchases with Apple Pay and in the iTunes Store, App Store and iBooks Store. Apple encrypts and stores faceprint data in the cloud, but authentication takes place directly on the device.

Social media platforms such as Facebook uses facial recognition software to tag individuals in photographs. Each time an individual is tagged in a photograph, the software stores mapping information about that person’s facial characteristics. Once enough data has been collected, the software can use that information to identify a specific individual's face when it appears in a new photograph. To protect people's privacy, a feature called Photo Review notifies the Facebook member who has been identified.

The software identifies 80 nodal points on a human face. In this context, nodal points are endpoints used to measure variables of a person’s face, such as the length or width of the nose, the depth of the eye sockets and the shape of the cheekbones. The system works by capturing data for nodal points on a digital image of an individual’s face and storing the resulting data as a faceprint, the faceprint is then used as a basis for comparison with data captured from faces in an image or video.

Image - 80 points of Facial Recognition
Image - 80 points of Facial Recognition

Super Recognisers 

Super recognisers are people with significantly better-than-average face recognition ability. It is the extreme opposite of prosopagnosia. It is estimated that 1–2% of population are super recognisers who can remember 80% of faces they have seen.


Normal people can only remember about 20% of faces. They have proved to be far superior to computer recognition systems, the science behind this is poorly understood but may be related to a part of the brain called the fusiform.

In May 2015, the Metropolitan Police officially formed a team made up of people with a "superpower" for recognising people and put them to work identifying individuals whose faces are captured on CCTV, Scotland Yard has a squad of over 200 super recognisers.

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