NEC explains how its revolutionary facial recognition tech works for mask-wearers amid COVID-19 with 99.9% precision in 1 second. (Image via NEC)

NEC face recognition identifies people with mask

As the world is currently waging war against the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, it is evident that the disease has inflicted major impacts on many lives, both domestically and internationally. Therefore, the world is also adapting to it by wearing masks to flatten the infection curve and much more preventive measures, calling it "New Normal". This "New Normal" lifestyle with mask also called for innovation in facial recognition technology, from mobile devices to workplaces.

Therefore, NEC Corp announced that it has renewed its facial recognition technology. While seen as the world's most accurate, NEC's facial technology's engine can now provide high-precision certification even when people are wearing masks! Developing seamless facial recognition technology that's also compatible with face mask is not a new thing for NEC. But, as COVID-19 has swept the industry off of their feet, the facial recognition technology will sell like hotcakes.

NEC's facial recognition tech extracts feature points such as the position, shape, and size of a subject's eyes, nose, and mouth, and matching and identifying detected faces. The unique thing is that the engine focuses on the individual's eyes not covered by face mask as the main extraction and analyzes their characteristics. Therefore, when the engine detects a face mask in the individual's image, it will use the most appropriate facial recognition algorithm to extract and check the characteristics of each individual; hence, the 99.9% high-precision certification in 1:1 verification without getting mixed up between mask-wearers and non-wearers, and masks of various colors and patterns.

For now, the system is limited to the demonstration at the NEC headquarters, precisely at the walkthrough gates managing the entrances and exits. The system also links face recognition and thermal cameras.

With the revolutionary facial recognition technology, NEC plans to include the "NEC Enhanced Video Analytics" that combine face recognition tech with various image analysis functions, and "Bio-IDiom Services", a multi-modal biometrics technology that uses face and other biometric information. The three items serve as the "NEC DX Platform", an integration of biometrics, video analysis, artificial intelligence (AI), and security techs while providing comprehensive services from applications to networks.