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Posts from — November 2009

Boldly Going…

As I said in the beginning, detecting the faces is only part of the equation.  Just knowing that something in a face isn’t all that useful for me.  I need to know whose face it is.  In order to write that part of the code, I’m going to need a whole bunch of faces to use as training data.  For this to be useful, I’m going to need a large number of views of the same person, as well as sets for different people.  You can’t rightly have something you call “facial recognition” if all it can do is recognize your own face.  So, that means that the webcam is ruled out for this phase.  There’s only so many faces I have around my apartment, and it just won’t do.

There are, of course, other options.  I could try to raid someplace like Flickr and steal someone’s family photos, or scour gossip sites for celebrity images.  However, what I have in mind is much easier and, as you’ll see, has a practical benefit, as well.

Now, I just wrote a face detector.  It’s able to detect faces in video streams. So, why not put it to work on a video stream, detecting faces for me to use as my training set?  I’ll only get faces that I know the system can detect and they’ll already be cropped to the location of the face for me.


Obviously, the best source material to use is an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  This has two main benefits.

First, once I get all the faces detected and classified and the recognizer written, I’ll be able to run it against a different episode of TNG as a test.  Many of the people will be the same between episodes, so it should be able to recognize them, but the system should not recognize members of the supporting cast and guest stars, since they’re not in the source episode.  This is important, because I need to make sure it handles people it doesn’t know about correctly.

The second and far more important benefit is that if I am successful, I will have written a program that is able to watch an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and let me know if Wesley Crusher is in it, so that I can skip those scenes.  That sort of technology has money-making potential.

November 26, 2009   No Comments

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