A Facial Recognition System identifies or verifies a person from a digital image or a video frame from a surveillance camera. These systems are typically used to in security and can be compared to other biometric data such as a fingerprint or iris pattern. These systems can identify a face by extracting features or landmarks from an image of the person; like the position and shape of their eyes, nose, cheekbones, jaw line and mouth. Some of these systems also capture the visual details of the person’s skin identifying unique lines, patterns, spots to analyze and match a person based on their skin’s texture.
The latest technology in facial recognition uses three-dimensional sensors to capture information about the shape of the face. That information is used to identify specific features such as the contour of the eye sockets, nose and chin. The 3D information is not affected by changes in lighting like other techniques are and it can identify a face from any viewing angle, even from the profile view, which makes this approach easier and more reliable.
The U.S. Department of State has one of the largest facial recognition systems in the world that they use for visa processing, various agencies worldwide use facial recognition in all sorts of criminal cases and arrests, it has been used to try to eliminate voter fraud, used as security measures at ATM machines, used as boarder control, and so much more.
The only weakness these systems seem to have is that they perform poorly on profile images. The photo of the face needs to be full frontal or at least pretty close to it. Poor lighting, sunglasses, long hair, big hats and other objects partially obscuring a person’s face also decrease the system’s ability to correctly recognize someone.
Of course these systems have raised yet another public outcry about invasion of privacy. People fear that this is just another step towards a “total global surveillance society” where the government and other like agencies will know who you are and what you are doing at all times. Whether or not this type of system will be abused or not remains to be seen.
It was quite a pleasure interview the Techs, since we come from similar backgrounds. Knowing the importance of having someone that can assist you in home with your technology is crucial. Unfortunately there are a lot less ethical people out there that offer such services and take advantage of people that don’t know much about technology. That’s why we picks the TECHS as our featured listing for this type of service. Without further rambling from me….. here is the interview
What made you want to start this particular business?
Our objective with TeCHS was to provide a full range of services that integrate all digital aspects for the home consumer or small business owner.
If you had to pick one thing out of your day, what’s the most exciting / favorite?
An exciting part of our day is getting a panic call from a client, being able to respond quickly, and watching them when that “magic moment” happens and we not only solved their problem but showed them new ways to expand the use of their digital system.
Who is your ideal customer?
Our ideal customer is someone who has a lot of technology in his/her home or business and don’t have the time to figure it all out. We strive to make people’s everyday lives easier with technology – whether we are training them on how to use it or taking care of all of it for them.
What do you consider your biggest weakness?
With the changes in traditional marketing over the last few years we are striving to get a handle on new approaches to expand our customer base in the local market.
How are you improving on that weakness?
We are exploring alternative marketing strategies including social networking on FaceBook, LinkedIN, Yelp, YouTube, CraigsList, Etsy and more internet-based advertising.
What is your biggest strength?
We are experts at problem solving and re-analyzing customers’ digital systems to make them more efficient while saving them lots of money.
How do you like running your business?
As a full-service business, we are in contact with our customers 24/7. This is a lifestyle that we love, and we feel like our customers are our family. Our joy comes from helping individuals keep up with the latest technology and helping businesses control their overhead.
If you could change one thing about your businesses day-to-day routine, what would it be?
We would like to have more space for a larger inventory of parts without having to continually run to a store to fulfill our customer’s individual needs.
Any new specials you can tell your customers about?
All new customers receive 10% off their first service with us.
If you had a chance to say one thing to a brand new customer, before they walk in the door, what would it be?
We strive to be your one-stop-shop for all things digital – computers, cell phones, tablets, photography, graphics, marketing, tutoring and more! Flat-rate or hourly – we are among the most affordable computer gurus in Ventura County. We save you time and money!
Seth and Kim Ralph are your TeCHS. We are proud Ventura natives that
want nothing more than to keep everyone’s digital life running smoothly
and to keep business and money in our beautiful and wonderful county!
From the home to the local small business – we provide affordable, fast,
friendly and reliable services for all of your needs.
I write a lot of blogs about surveillance systems that sort of make the systems out to be the eye-in-the-sky “bad guys.” Something watching our every move and logging it all away somewhere. Everyone from big government, small cities and even our neighbors use surveillance systems to keep an eye out for one thing or another.
Yes, we are all being watched. We all are constantly caught on any number of cameras during our normal daily lives. Whether we visit a bank on our lunch break, drive down the street or grab a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop, we are passing numerous surveillance systems. Most of which we cannot see very well if at all.
There is quite a lot of public outcry about the invasion of privacy but there is another side to that coin. There are quite a few positives that are rarely considered. For example, what if you are accused of a crime you did not commit? It is possible to use the collection of video recordings and even your cell phone’s location to prove your innocence. These surveillance systems also help deter crime with their presence. A lot of companies even have “dummy” cameras in their system that do not actually work but their presence (and the possibility that it is working) deters crime and theft.
Who knows what the future will hold for surveillance. One thing I do know is that these systems will not be going away.
One of the more interesting and advanced new technologies in the works today is called Visible Light Communications (VLC) which uses visible light to transmit data communications – using ordinary lamps with both fluorescent and LED bulbs. Using visible light to transmit and receive data is revolutionary! Practically any device can be used with zero modifications; cell phones, computers, lamps, etc. Plus, the technology is completely harmless to electronics, humans, plants, animals or anything else that normally isn’t harmed by regular light.
In January of 2010 a major demonstration was conducted by Siemens and Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications where they showed transmission of 500 Mbps with a single white LED over 16 feet and 100 Mbps over a much larger distance using 5 white LEDs. Of course those two aren’t the only ones with VLC in mind for their latest innovations; we are seeing an explosion of technologies in multiple industries from multiple companies that range from traffic signals to cell phones to anti-theft devices.
The VLC technology isn’t going to replace the current wireless technologies anytime soon (like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) but I think it will be a valuable asset for applications where RF isn’t available or can interfere with critical equipment (like hospitals and airports). Thus, with a little extra work, planning and money every new LED light fixture could be wired into existing networks to be able to communicate wirelessly to any device without using the crowded radio-frequency bands.
Good day everyone! I am hijacking my company blog for a bit of bragging… One of your TeCHS, Kim, won a blue ribbon at the 2012 Ventura County Fair!
My digital masterpiece titled ICE QUEEN won first place in the photography contest in the digital arts division.
I was so excited to find out!
I have submitted many pieces to the fair over the years and this is the very first blue ribbon I have won.
Congratulations to all of the 2012 Fair winners in all categories. There were so many awesome entries this year – photography, fine art, agriculture and more! I love seeing what everyone creates for the fair every year. I look forward to 2013!!!
With every new and innovate way to try to secure everyone’s personal information, thieves are finding new and scary ways to get at people’s data. Items that you use every day and carry with you everywhere could be making you vulnerable to an identity thief.
All U.S. Passports, credit cards, I.D.s, driver’s licenses and debit cards, since 2006, are issued with RFID tags that contain all sorts of very personal information. RFID tags in these types of items contain your name, your address, your credit card number, and all sorts of other very important information that you do not want strangers knowing and that could lead you to being a victim of identity theft. The RFID tags in all of these things are constantly transmitting tiny blips of information even when there is no receiver in the vicinity.
To someone with the right equipment, you are basically walking around with all of your pertinent information flashing over your head like a banner. The “right equipment” is also easier, cheaper and a lot more innocuous than one would think.
Pickpockets now-a-days don’t have to risk being caught with their hand in your pocket or purse because now they can purchase a simple credit card reader and a laptop and “lift” your information from your wallet just by walking past you. In a crowded place, like a sporting event or shopping mall, a thief can easily collect hundreds or thousands of people’s information in the span of a couple of hours all while looking like just another fan or shopper.
How can you protect your information from this kind of theft? Well, as crazy as it sounds, you can line your wallet with tin foil to help prevent the digital theft. If you prefer a nicer looking and slightly less “crazy-sounding” solution, any metalized nylon material will work nicely to disrupt the RDIF communications. Just do a quick Google search, there are plenty of companies out there that make very nice wallets, passport holders and clutches utilizing materials designed to block RFID.
Many companies, including Microsoft and Google, offer free online file storage to anyone who wants it. The companies tout the service as a boon to business users who can share information and files with colleagues without having to be limited by email file size restrictions.
With one of these services you can upload all sorts of files to the internet to share with anyone; including text documents, photos, movies, music and zipped archives. The upload then gives you a link that you can email instead of the actual file. It’s all very convenient and easy.
However, just how safe is your information once uploaded? Keeping your data on the web protects you from losing any of it if your computer crashes or is stolen but since it’s all on the web, basically anyone can view and download any file you upload. These remote backup systems are like virtual warehouses that can easily be hacked even with the advanced security features some of these companies use.
Also, if the online storage is the only place you have the file saved, you could lose everything in the blink of an eye. Say your online storage company goes under, your account gets hacked or your account gets terminated for some reason… you lose all of those files you had “stored.” So if you use one of these services to store your data make sure to keep backup copies on your local hard drive or burned on CD/DVDs.
This sort of file storage and sharing has been growing more and more popular over the last few years and just may totally replace USB jump drives and other media storage devices of that nature.
So, do you feel comfortable with your data floating around in “the cloud?”
The technology called Augmented Reality strives to combine the physical real-world environment with elements that are augmented by virtual computer-generated imagery. Much like the heads-up displays in popular video games each one of us will soon have the ability to merge the physical world with information about people and places directly from the internet.
In July of 2009 a company called SPRXmobile released an app for a few select smart phones called Layar which allows the user to aim their cell phone around and see all kinds of information pop up on their screen about their surroundings. Currently, the information it displays are things like web reviews of restaurants, apartments for rent, and sale prices on items in stores.
This technology has been used in more subtle ways for quite some time now. TV stations have been using a type of AR to show the “down” lines in football games and to trace the puck during hockey games. Also, giant sponsor logos are now being digitally inserted onto the playing fields and other advertisements are being modified or added.
Soon we will all have mobile access to data and information which is gathered from the internet and will be displayed as small bubbles of information floating all over our world. We will all have homes filled with virtual plants, paintings and wallpaper. We will control digital media, like the internet and our PCs, by gazing or pointing. We will see a mass marketing switch over to virtual window arrangements, posters, decorations, advertisements, and billboards which will all be fully interactive, even at a distance. It’s all about adding even more information to your world and the possibilities are endless once this technology improves and becomes affordable.
Cell phones moved into our lives as massive “brick-like” devices that were very expensive to own and operate and required a briefcase full of electronics to function. Now they are small, light-weight squares that fit easily in your pocket. People particularly want a cell phone that is resistant to damage, has all of the latest features and functions and is easy to carry around.
Nokia has been working hard to break free from “traditional” cell phone designs and create futuristic flexible phones that you can fold up, roll, bend, clip to your clothes, and wrap around your wrist like a bracelet… basically it can be carried in a variety of ways never before possible. The first in their concept line is called the 888 which is a very light and easy to use cell phone that uses a liquid battery, has speech recognition capabilities, a flexible touch screen and a touch sensitive body.
Another Nokia concept, called Morph, takes the flexible idea another step further with a concept phone that can be folded up and put in your pocket and then easily taken out and actually stretched out to take call or use its touch keyboard. This phone utilizes nanotechnology to make the thread-like material of the phone flexible, stretchable, transparent and incredibly strong.
Of course Nokia isn’t the only company working on flexible phones. Samsung and Kyocera have both working on their own futuristic phones using OLEDs and the ability to charge the phone using kinetic energy. Others are sure to follow if the technology seems viable.
All I can say is how soon can I get my hands on one of these phones?
A Universal Translator is a very common device in the science fiction world; the translator’s purpose is to offer an instant translation of any language thus eliminating the problem of needing a translator and spending time translating alien languages. Translating a new language in every episode or movie when the main characters encounter new species or new cultures would consume too much time and become so repetitive that people stop watching the programs. The Universal Translator, as shown by science fiction works, seems pretty unlikely at the moment but scientists are working hard on similar technologies involving the small number of known languages around the world.
In 2010 Google announced that it was developing a translator that uses a voice recognition system and extensive database and will recite the translation back in any language that it has in its database. Some time ago the U.S. Army developed a two-way translator specifically for use in Iraq that focuses only on Arabic-English translations. Also, revolutionary software called VoxOx launched in February of this year and enables two people to communicate with one another in their native languages over instant messenger, SMS or email. The software lets each person type in their native language and translates the type on the other end into the other person’s native language.
Nuance Communications, Inc., one of the nation’s leading providers of speech and imaging solutions who are based in Massachusetts, has been working on a prototype hand-held device that can read text in seven different languages and translate it into English. You simply point the device at the text you need translated and it takes care of the rest. They estimate that a commercial cell phone based version will be available within the next three years.