I had the impression from watching television police shows that cameras everywhere capture faces which can be fed through facial recognition software. Actually, according to Terrance Boult, those images are so fuzzy that the software rarely finds a match in a photo database.Boult is a computer science professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and the co-founder of the security startup Securics Inc. His team of researchers is developing a computer program that instead identifies suspects by – watch out! – their tattoos. The captain, the colonels, and my daughter are all at risk, and they had better behave. On the other hand, this could be a great way to track Wickham!
The program hasn’t yet been able to identify a specific person solely by their tattoos, but it can use the image to find matches to similar tattoos on databases or on social media sites. If the criminal is stupid enough to put a pic of his tattoo on Facebook, and most of them are, and if he is in a gang, the tattoo could potentially trace this lead to gang members who might know the suspect’s identity and whereabouts.
The program has also been designed to match tattoos with descriptions from eyewitnesses with those in a database. Fortunately, my daughter’s tattoo of Hawaii on her foot looks like she spilled blue Kool Aid and forgot to wash it off. If she holds up a 7-Eleven barefooted, the eyewitness will never remember the blobs as our fiftieth state.
Recognition based on skin markings is not a new concept, but Boult’s team has designed a program that can be used with lower-quality photographs or even images captured while the subject is in motion, as he should be if he has half a brain.
In other “tattoo” news, Nokia has devised a way to use magnetic vibrating tattoos to send cell phone alerts directly to a person’s skin. Can’t wait for that one. Now, church services, funerals, weddings, classrooms, and boardrooms can be disturbed by people vibrating rather than just the annoying buzz of a cell phone. The patent application says that the app would fit on your arm, abdomen, or fingernail. Where do you want to vibrate, people? I wish I hadn’t asked that, and I certainly will not posit that query to our Austen men.