PrimID Uses Facial Recognition to Identify Apes in the Wild

“Researchers have to be able to identify particular apes for their studies in the field, and it can also be useful in the fight against poaching, which has helped along a rapid decline in the number of great ape species in the wild.”

Ever find yourself face to face with an ape in the jungle, and unsure what its name is? There’s an app for that.

PrimID Uses Facial Recognition to Identify Apes in the Wild

It’s the latest innovation to come out of Michigan State University’s biometrics lab led by renowned professor Anil Jain. In early 2017, Jain revealed that he and his colleagues had developed a facial recognition system for lemurs; now, that technology has been further refined to target all kinds of apes through a system called PrimNet. And PrimNet has an associated mobile app, PrimID.

There’s more of a need for this technology than many might realize. Researchers have to be able to identify particular apes for their studies in the field, and it can also be useful in the fight against poaching, which has helped along a rapid decline in the number of great ape species in the wild. By automating the ape identification process, PrimNet could save researchers valuable time and resources.

The biometric technology isn’t as reliable as, say, Face ID on the iPhone X. Announcing PrimNet on the MSU website, the researchers could only claim that “[i]n many cases, PrimID will produce a match that’s greater than 90 percent accurate.” But the system outperformed rival facial recognition systems including SphereFace and FaceNet, and in cases where it’s not able to produce an exact match, it’s designed to offer the user five potential matches, which could prove very helpful to researchers.

By its nature, PrimID is unlikely to every become a very popular app in the mainstream; but like Face ID, the solution is a great example of the incessant evolution of facial recognition technology for primates.

Source: MSU Today

(Originally posted on FindBiometrics)