Age-detection system to keep kids out of video arcades and liquor stores

A system that can guess a person's age just by looking at their face could be used to keep underage kids and teenagers out of video game arcades and liquor stores, its inventors believe. It could also help detect unwanted adults entering schools.

The Japanese-developed technology takes only 0.2 seconds to put an approximate age to any face picked up by its cameras.

The face analysis software was developed by researchers at Japan's giant Omron Corporation, which develops security systems. It is part of a suite of technologies that can also recognize sex and even distinguish different racial groups, according to research documents published by the company.

In Japan, the researchers say the technology could be added to alcohol vending machines to prevent children or underage teens from using them.

The system identifies faces in pictures fed from surveillance cameras. While development work continues, it is already more than 90 per cent accurate at sorting faces into broad age groups, such as under-ten, 10 to 19, and so on.

It relies on a wide variety of cues to determine age, according to Omron. For example, in children, the eyes are relatively large and the jaw is rounded. Whereas adults have longer faces, with more strongly pronounced lines, depending on age.

In a scientific paper published last year, the researchers explained that the system became less accurate if it was forced to view the face from an significant angle, instead of straight on. Age estimation accuracy, which normally exceeds 90 percent, might be unacceptable once the angle was greater than 20 to 30 degrees, they wrote. It is not clear if they have been able to improve performance in this area.

Omron is currently demonstrating a prototype at a security show in Tokyo.

Kids out of control

It's sad that this kind of system is in demand, but some kids are getting totally out of control in the modern world. Maybe if it helps keep them in bounds and learn manners it is a good thing


Thats a real dumb idea

Did you see where it says it can also detect racial groups, Start with keeping kids out then what is next? Where do you draw the line with this?

We need less goverment control not more

We need a government we can trust

We need a government we can trust to draw the line in the right place

Completely agreed. Besides

Completely agreed. Besides which, some people don't look their age.

Another "arms race"

How soon till a company sells make-up kits to add wrinkle effects and other things to fool the cameras?

I could have a big rant about corporations, the media and governments, and the values they encourage us to have, but I won't.

Stop the machine.

If it's so sensitive as to

If it's so sensitive as to detect your age then it can probably detect fake wrinkles