Omron Demos Facial Recognition Technology

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Do you find your employees not smiling when greeting customers? Japanese component maker Omron Corp.'s Okao Vision family of facial-recognition products can help.

Omron showed off at this week's Ceatec exhibition in Japan the capabilities of its Okao Vision technology that recognizes when a person is smiling, and can evaluate how big their grin is. The technology can be used in a digital camera to sense when photo subjects are smiling and ready for their picture to be taken, said James Seddon, a spokesman for the company.

The smile-evaluation technology, which can monitor multiple faces in the same image, could be used by a company to train its employees how to smile, he said.

A similar technology is used with Sony Corp.'s Smile Shutter function, announced in August with the company's DSC-T200 camera. Smile Shutter first finds faces and waits until everyone is smiling before it takes a picture. While Sony is not using Omron's smile-evaluation technology, the component maker hopes to see another vendor put its technology to use, Seddon said.

The Okao Vision line consists of a range of facial-recognition technology. Offerings include an identification technology, which can recognize individual faces; the ability to estimate gender and age based on facial characteristics; a tracking technology that can detect and track the movements of a human body; and the ability to estimate where a person is looking based on the orientation of their face and gaze.

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