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Friday, April 28, 2006
Kodak Uses Red-Eye To Determine Age

Kodak was recently granted a patent for a technology that could determine the age of subjects by the size of the red-eye defects.

As people age, their pupils don?t expand as much, leading to less red-eye. According to digitalcamerainfo, Kodak experimented by photographing 88 faces and attempting to automatically sort the pictures into two categories: children and adults.

Out of the 88 faces that were sampled, 62 were correctly classified. Children were more likely to be misfiled than adults. Kodak?s patent builds on this research to include more categories: baby, child, adult, and older adult, with wrinkle and hair color analysis supplementing the red-eye detection technology.

This initial research happened many years ago. The patent was filed Sept. 1, 2004, but was only granted this year, on March 2 more precisely. From the patent?s language, Kodak seems to have big plans for the age-classification technology. It could sort pictures by age class within a digital camera, a software program, or a photofinishing system.

Integrating age classification into a digital camera, or a future update of the EasyShare software, would take Kodak?s recently announced face recognition technology to a new level. Not only could an EasyShare recognize a face, it could determine its age and file the photo into a folder with other faces in the same age class.

The software could automatically organize pictures into albums of babies, children, adults, and older adults, making them much simpler to find later. Kodak?s photo printing services could even use this technology for marketing purposes, determining the age of printed subjects and using it to target specific consumer groups. The only downside to this is that collected information could be used to invade customers' privacy.

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