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Imagine you’re at a conference and want to know something about the people around you. A new mobile application called Recognizr can identify a person’s face via your phone camera and deliver not only profile information about that person but also show you their latest status updates.

Swedish computer vision specialists Polar Rose combined forces with interface designers TAT (The Astonishing Tribe) to create the Recognizr as a prototype application for Android phones to show off Polar Rose’s mobile face recognition library. Polar Rose’s software recognizes individuals, while TAT’s interface uses augmented reality to show profile information from sites like Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn and the latest status updates from the recognized person.

Since in real life it’s unlikely that you’ll go around taking pictures of random strangers, at least unless you can do so discreetly, I asked Polar Rose CTO Jan-Erik Solem what he sees as the main applications of Recognizr. He told me that the most requested scenario is to tag the recognized person in the photo you’ve just taken or to add them to your social networks.

Recognizr uses FaceLib, a mobile face recognition library from Polar Rose, which is available for Android and iPhone. FaceLib can recognize faces in photo or video but, in common with other facial recognition products, is  more accurate for photos. Recognizr also uses Polar Rose’s server-side solution FaceCloud because you can’t store profiles of all potential matches in the phone — although recognizing people who are already in the phone’s address book can be handled locally on the device.

The quality of the image you’re targeting with your camera largely determines the accuracy of recognition. In still images, the main problems are poor lighting and focus for some devices. Motion blur and poor lighting are the most difficult cases if running in video mode, where the resolution is also much lower.

Polar Rose has a team of 17 based in Malmö, Sweden and received $5.1M in a first round of funding from Nordic Venture Partners.

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