The virtual razor for face recognition

A new way to model the human face can effectively shave a man in the computer allowing face recognition and age estimate software to work more effectively for security and biometrics, according to research from scientists in Tunisia described in the International Journal of Operational Research.

Rokaya Dhahri and Samir Belaid of the MARS Research Unit at the University of Monasitr, explain that three-dimensional modelling of the human face is more effective than 2D face recognition, but is nevertheless stymied by the person having a beard. Given the ease with which many men can grow a beard or how any person might don a fake beard, there is a need to see through the facial hair, to shave, virtually speaking, a face for security and other purposes.

Their approach involves a mathematical analysis of the bearded face based on standard deviation measure of angles sum between face normal vectors (SANV), a way to fill in any games in the 3D model of the face, a selection procedure that identifies the boundaries of the beard and finally a smoothing function that acts as a computer-based razor.

The team points out that any competent computer artist can sketch a beard on to a clean-shaven face, the reverse process of shaving the bearded face in the computer is much more complicated. Tests on a database of faces showed how the team’s algorithm successfully shaves the bearded.

Dhahri, R. and Belaid, S. (2016) ‘A new method to detect and remove a beard from 3D human face model‘, Int. J. Operational Research, Vol. 27, Nos. 1/2, pp.201-211.

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.