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Gizmorama - March 13, 2017

Good Morning,

Here's a question for you...Can automatic facial recognition systems account for aging? Can technology change with us? Will tech start to age with us? That's weird, right?

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,

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* Can automatic facial recognition systems account for aging? *

Roughly one in every two adults is already in a facial recognition system database, according to one recent study, but new research considers whether the technology can account for aging faces.

"We wanted to determine if state-of-the-art facial recognition systems could recognize the same face imaged multiple years apart, such as at age 20 and again at age 30," Anil Jain, a professor of computer science and engineering at Michigan State University, said in a news release. "This is the first study of automatic facial recognition using a statistical model and large longitudinal face database."

Jain and doctoral student Lacey Best-Rowden tested the facial recognition technology currently used by law enforcement officers in Michigan and found the system can recognize faces that aged up to six years with 99 percent accuracy. After six years, the system's predictive abilities began to drop off.

"Criminal acquisition is dependent on the number of times a person is arrested, as the majority are not required to update their image," explained Pete Langenfeld, manager of the biometrics and identification division with the Michigan State Police. "However, civil applications that require updated facial images should look at reducing the time between captures if it is greater than every four years."

Jain and Best-Rowden studied a database populated with the mugshot of repeat criminal offenders. Researchers tested the technology using more than 23,600 mugshots captured over the course of five years.

The research was published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence.

*-- Czech scientists build non-metal magnet out of carbon --*

Scientists in the Czech Republic created magnetized carbon by treating graphene layers with non-metallic elements.

Their invention, detailed in the journal Nature Communications, is the first non-metal magnet to maintain its magnetic properties at room temperature. Researchers say the discovery has a wide array of potential applications in the fields of biomedicine and electronics.

"For several years, we have suspected that the path to magnetic carbon could involve graphene -- a single two-dimensional layer of carbon atoms," lead researcher Radek Zboril, director of the Regional Center of Advanced Technologies and Materials at the Palacky University, Olomouc, said in a news release. "Amazingly, by treating it with other non-metallic elements such as fluorine, hydrogen, and oxygen, we were able to create a new source of magnetic moments that communicate with each other even at room temperature. This discovery is seen as a huge advancement in the capabilities of organic magnets."

The researchers at RCPTM also developed a theoretical model to explain how their unique chemical treatment yields magnetized graphene.

"In metallic systems, magnetic phenomena result from the behavior of electrons in the atomic structure of metals," explained researcher Michal Otyepka. "In the organic magnets that we have developed, the magnetic features emerge from the behavior of non-metallic chemical radicals that carry free electrons."

Graphene is already well-known among material scientists for its unique electronic properties and conductivity. Add magnetism to the mix and researchers say the possibilities for scientific application are endless.

"Such magnetic graphene-based materials have potential applications in the fields of spintronics and electronics, but also in medicine for targeted drug delivery and for separating molecules using external magnetic fields," said scientist Jiri Tucek.

Researchers at Olomouc also recently built the world's smallest metal magnet, and RCPTM scientists are currently trying to build magnetic molecules.


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