Google Glass app will recognize people in a crowd for you

by: Bogdan PetrovanMarch 8, 2013

google glass

A new Google-funded app will let Glass recognize and point people in a crowd, based on the clothes and accessories they wear.

When you think about identifying a person, the first technology that comes to mind is facial recognition. But recognizing someone by their faces isn’t always feasible. In low light, in crowded areas, or simply when someone stands with their back against you, that often proves hard or even impossible.

Try finding some friends in a crowded shopping mall. More likely, you’ll recognize them by their clothes and gait, rather than their faces. That’s precisely the idea behind a new app, called InSight, that will let the Google Glass identify and point to people, based on their outfits.

InSight is being developed by students in North Carolina, with financial help from Google. The app takes a unique “fashion fingerprint” of a person, by analyzing their clothes and accessories. The system builds a “spatiogram” that contains the “spatial distribution of colors, textures and patterns” in a person’s outfit. In other words, InSight learns what you are wearing.

Running the app, Glass can compare the spatiograms of people in its field of view with the spatiogram of the person you are looking for. When a match is made, the wearable computer will display the name of the person over the area where the person is located.

Early tests have demonstrated a 93 percent success rate for the system.

From my understanding, the system depends on the consent of the user who will be identified. InSight will snap pics of the user while he or she uses the phone, and build their spatiogram file in the background. Than the person can choose to send the file to another person, who can then load it up on the Google Glass.

Because the spatiogram changes each time you change your shirt or put a new scarf on, it could be relatively easy to evade tracking.

I do think that similar systems will be eventually be deployed by police, security teams, and similar personnel. Just imagine how easy it will eventually be to track people in a crowded train station, based on a quick scan made through a security camera. Till then, there are more benign applications for the app. For instance people suffering from a neurological condition that prevents them from seeing faces are likely to embrace this tool.

The Glass is slowly turning our sci-fi fantasies into reality. Terrifying? Probably. Exciting? Absolutely!

  • Wow, that is so amazing.. Love companies that really invest in innovation. On the other hand this is scary. The same companies will know everything about us, if they will only want to.

  • grinmaster

    can google glass measure B/W/H of chick in front of me ?

  • john

    This is a tricky one…

    I mean with this kind of functionality-I would imagine someone would have come up with it if Google hadn’t seeing the google Glass hardware- the Glasses becomes fully networked functional surveillance machine. I mean it is no where near Minority Report kind of level, but still getting anonymous on the streets will require some technical knowledge of computing hardware etc.

    I really can’t say whether this is amazing or not, but I’m kind of scared of it.

  • Smiley Smith

    I am just waiting on the release date and price for Glass. Excited to give it a try.

  • Tricky

    that’s to cool! each day i think Google glass is stupid, something convinces me that it might not be. no more chauffeurs at the airport with a sign looking for me, wait even better, no more maybe getting into fake cabs (not that that happened to me but someone close to me)!

    On the topic of Orwellian nightmare stuff… i’m not afraid of consumer electronics because there already is technology owned by government better then this, such as drones and satellites that can see a grain of sand from space with innovation better then face recognition to find someone in a crowd ex brain heat signatures…. im confused anyways what level of privacy would this compromise? most of my photos are on Facebook geo-located lol i have android phone and tablet so my phone calls emails text gps system my banking is all being traked a monitored already. sorry to rant but im just saying lol.

  • name..

    we can find waldo easily then

  • somebloke

    tomtom heads up display would be great for driving and also in city navigation would be awesome with gps hud overlay , what would be cool would be a version that could see in infrared to allow night time driving etc

    • i can almost guarantee that when this is released, it will be made illegal to wear these while driving

  • whatd be good is if there was a mass server where everyone uploaded their file, so anyone could know anyones names just by looking around

  • Benedict Tan

    I want mine to say “TARGET ACQUIRED” every time it does that :D