The difference between face detection and recognition

In this article, we will go over the difference between face detection and recognition.

Face recognition

Nowadays, cameras have become evolved enough to have detection features, alarms, turn on lights, and see in the dark. 

Though some might think that the terms detection and recognition are interchangeable, that is not entirely true. 

The difference between face detection and face recognition.

There are, in fact, a couple of crucial differences that should be noted. Let's take a look at each of them and what they mean.

What is face detection? 

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Face detection refers to the identification of a person's face or identifying if the 'object' captured by a camera is a person. 

Detection is a broader term, while recognition is more specific and falls in the category of face detection.

Meaning that the computer can simply see and locate a face by knowing it is there. 

The system works both in images and videos; that is why some cameras can detect when someone is at your front door. 

This can be applied in different ways, for instance, counting how many people step in and out of the store, and it can be used in other markets. 

Advertising and marketing can benefit from knowing how many people are coming in. 

Another method it can be used is facial recognition; however, it is more advanced than facial detection.

How it works

Facial detection algorithms are the way to continuously search for human eyes as they are the easiest to identify and detect as a human. 

Once a pair of eyes is located, it will check for other features such as a mouth, nose, eyebrows, among others. 

Once it locates these features, it will identify it as human.

What is facial recognition?

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The difference between face detection and recognition is abundant, even though they fall in the same category. 

Facial recognition is part of facial detection. 

An easy way to distinguish both is thinking about seeing a person in a dark room; you might have enough light to detect that it is human, and maybe a woman. 

But if you turn on the lights, you can recognize it is someone you know.

This technology attempts to go above and beyond. 

Once it detects a face, it attempts to recognize who it is by comparing it to images and videos it has. 

Even if it does not work 100 percent of the time, it is still a very precise measure that can be used in a million different scenarios. 

Though this may sound like high-level FBI technology, it is available to the public. And you might use it without even knowing it.

The usage of cameras that contain facial recognition can be found in banks, airports, stores, etc. 

These are used for security measures and to be able to recognize if someone steals.

But this technology can be found on your phone! 

Apps like the gallery and Google Photos store your images but can also organize them by people. 

Some systems begin grouping similar faces together, and can then ask you to double-check, which we can all admit is a bit of a fun game.

In comparison, others ask you for a picture of yourself and can immediately, within seconds, check all images for your face! That is awesome!


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Facial detection knows a person is present, while facial recognition tries to find who they are using their facial features. 

Both are available in cameras to the public at affordable costs. 

Some cameras even allow you to choose put in faces of the people who live in the house, so it alerts you immediately when it recognizes an unknown face.

What a crazy world full of technology that we live in!