Like an age-guesser at a carnival, computer software being developed at the University of Illinois can fairly accurately estimate a person’s age. But, unlike age-guessers, who can view a person’s body, the software works by examining only the person’s face.
“Age-estimation software is useful in applications where you don’t need to specifically identify someone, such as a government employee, but would like to know their age,” said Thomas S. Huang, the William L. Everitt Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the U. of I.
For example, age-recognition algorithms could stop underage drinkers from entering bars, prevent minors from purchasing tobacco products from vending machines, and deny children access to adult Web sites, said Huang, who leads the Image Formation and Processing group at the university’s Beckman Institute.
Estimating someone’s age is not an easy task, even for a computer. That’s partly because the aging process is determined not only by a person’s genetic makeup, but by many other factors as well, including health, location and living conditions.
“Human faces do convey a significant amount of information, however, and provide important visual cues for estimating age,” Huang said. “Facial attributes, such as expression, gender and ethnic origin, play a crucial role in our image analysis.”
Consisting of three modules – face detection, discriminative manifold learning, and multiple linear regression – the researchers’ age-estimation software was trained on a database containing photos of 1,600 faces.
The software can estimate ages from 1 year to 93 years. The software’s accuracy ranges from about 50 percent when estimating ages to within 5 years, to more than 80 percent when estimating ages to within 10 years. The accuracy can be improved by additional training on larger databases of faces, Huang said.
In addition to performing tasks such as security control and surveillance monitoring, age-estimation software also could be used for electronic customer relationship management.
For example, a camera snapping photos of customers could collect demographic data – such as how many adult men and women buy burgers, or what percentage of teenagers purchase a particular soft drink.
Or, combined with algorithms that identify a person’s sex, age-estimation software could help target specific audiences for specific advertisements. For example, a store display might advertise a new automobile or boat as a man walks by, or new clothing or cosmetics as a woman walks by.
“All of this can be done without violating anyone’s privacy,” Huang said. “Our software does not identify specific individuals. It just estimates their ages.”
Huang is affiliated with the university’s Center for Advanced Study, Coordinated Science Laboratory, Information Trust Institute, and department of computer science.
Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity. The researchers published their findings in the two journals IEEE Transactions on Multimedia and IEEE Transactions on Image Processing in 2008.
Editor’s note: To reach Thomas Huang, call 217-244-1638; e-mail: email@example.com
UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville
New standard helps optical trackers follow moving objects precisely
23.11.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy