Sunday, June 24, 2012

Facial Recognition Software Being Launched

Researchers are developing software that will help them better identify individual apes and elephants in their natural environment, an innovation they say could improve tracking of species populations in the wild and provide insights into animal behavior.

Using video and photographs collected by camera traps, the detection software automatically scans through pictures of animals and then is able to identify specific individuals using algorithms based on biometric data. For great apes and elephants alike, distinctive skin fold patterns make it feasible to identify individuals even from long distances using high-resolution photography. Researchers say the software will let them know, for example, if the same gorilla or numerous individuals are appearing in a series of camera trap images, providing a better representation of the health of the population.

The software - which is being developed by a team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Fraunhofer Institutes IDMT and IIS, and the University of Bristol - also analyzes sounds made by individual animals, including an ape’s chest-pounding or aggressive grunts.

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