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Next Up: Binoculars That Can Literally Tell Who You Are

The US military has awarded an unspecified sum to a California company to improve on binoculars that capture 3D images of faces and send them to an identification database.

What’s the Latest Development?

California biometrics company StereoVision Imaging has received money from the US military to develop what it’s calling a “Wireless 3D Binocular Face Recognition System.” The concept is fairly straightforward: Equip a set of binoculars with scanners that can “read” a face in three dimensions and transmit the image to a database, where it’s matched up against existing records. It’s an upgrade on an earlier version created by the company: At 200 meters, the new version has twice the range, which makes it a safer choice for soldiers in the field.

What’s the Big Idea?

Currently, the binoculars only work in daylight, and aren’t as effective when the subject is moving. Still, the surveillance benefits of a mobile facial recognition device are obvious, if not a little scary, and the military isn’t the only sector that’s interested in the technology. StereoVision’s earlier version was developed with the help of money from the National Institute of Justice, and the FBI is spending $1 billion on developing sophisticated biometric recognition systems. According to StereoVision president Greg Steinthal, law enforcement officials in Los Angeles and San Diego have tested the new binoculars for use in gang units and celebrity stalker tracking.

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Read it at Wired


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