3D Printing May Foil Facial Recognition Systems

By on November 7th, 2016 in Ideas


 Disguised by 3D printing?
Disguised by 3D printing?

A piece in New Scientist describes how specially designed eyeglasses may be able to “confuse” digital face recognition systems. But could 3D printing do the same? 

The article explains:

By printing bespoke patterns onto the front of the frames, they enabled wearers not only to obscure their identity but to impersonate people who look completely different, at least in the eyes of the algorithms.

A white male researcher wearing the glasses was able to pass for American actress Milla Jovovich while a South-Asian female colleague was digitally disguised as a Middle-Eastern male. Both tricked commercially available face recognition software Face++ with a success rate of around 90 per cent. The system wasn’t perfect, however: a Middle-Eastern male trying to use the glasses to pass as white British actor Clive Owen only succeeded 16 per cent of the time.

This is very curious, and was accomplished by simply painting (i.e. 2D) eyeglasses. 

Of course, such a disguise could not confuse a human inspector, but that’s not the point here, as a digital facial recognition system was being beaten. 

But now I’m wondering whether a 3D printed approach could achieve the same thing? There are many 2D patterns possible, and just as many 3D patterns. What happens if you have larger ears? Wider cheeks? Longer nose? A cleft chin? 

Any of these or similar “facial augmentations” could be easily created on a 3D printer that would fit the wearer precisely. 

Again, these would definitely not confuse a human inspector, but certainly they would more than likely confuse a facial recognition system, particularly from a distance. A popular method used by such systems is to measure distances between recognizable points on the face, such as the distance from chin to mouth, etc. The combination of all those measurements can be a uniquely identifying metric, and could be used for database lookup. 

But many of those measurements could be foiled by 3D printed augments. Except for the distance between eyeballs, of course. 

Or maybe not. But at the very least this is clearly something that should be attempted in the next Bond movie. 

Via New Scientist

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!