Home­less re­con­nect via fa­cial tech­nol­ogy

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CHINA DAILY

Home­less shel­ters in Shang­hai are us­ing fa­cial recog­ni­tion soft­ware and new me­dia to help re­unite va­grants, beg­gars and lost se­niors with their fam­i­lies.

Last week, po­lice took Wang Yongquan, 92, to a cen­ter in Huangpu dis­trict be­cause he ap­peared con­fused and was un­able to re­mem­ber his ad­dress. It took work­ers at the shel­ter just 20 min­utes to iden­tify him us­ing a fa­cial recog­ni­tion sys­tem and con­tact his rel­a­tives, who lived nearby.

“We used to have to search for per­sonal in­for­ma­tion in a hand­writ­ten book and check printed pho­tos for matches,” said Kang Qing­ping, a shel­ter worker. “Now, it’s more ef­fi­cient. We send 95 per­cent of the peo­ple home, com­pared with about 80 per­cent be­fore.”

The sys­tem was in­stalled in mid-2015 and in­cludes im­ages of any­one who has sought help at the cen­ter within the past five years. Wang, who had vis­ited four times be­fore, was one of five peo­ple it iden­ti­fied this year.

“We have around 24,000 peo­ple stored in our fa­cial recog­ni­tion sys­tem,” Kang said. “Af­ter up­load­ing a photo, the sys­tem will pop up the top five matches by sim­i­lar­ity and also in­clude the per­son’s in­for­ma­tion, fin­ger­prints, his­tory and fam­ily con­tacts.”

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