Skip to main content

Google Glass App Can Identify Your Friends by Clothing

NewScientist reports that a developer from the University of South Carolina (Columbia) has created an app for Google Glass called Insight. Partially funded by Google, it was revealed last week during the HotMobile technology conference in Jekyll Island, Georgia, and promised to identify individuals based on the clothes they wear.

According to the report, developer Srihari Nelakuditi joined forces with Romit Roy Choudhury and colleagues at Duke University to develop a recognition system based on a "fashion fingerprint" of a person's outfit. This fingerprint includes jewelry, badges and glasses in addition to the person's favorite shoes or shirt.

To create the fingerprint, a smartphone app is used to acquire a series of photos of the user as they surf the Internet, read email and whatnot. The app then takes those images and saves the spatial distribution of colors, textures and patterns of the subject's clothes into a file called a "spatiogram". This data supposedly makes it easier to identify someone even at odd viewing angles or from long distances.

Of course, this fingerprint is likely a one-time deal, as a subject will change clothes and thus need a new fingerprint. That should please privacy advocates who are already steaming over the camera mounted in Google's Glass specs. However that doesn't mean the system couldn't be altered later to "thumbprint" accessories a person typically wears like combos of a certain watch, a pair of shoes and glasses.

Early tests of the app proved quite successful, as a team of 15 volunteers were able to correctly identify people 93-percent of the time, even when the subjects had their backs facing the Glass-based user. Matching data from the phone's motion sensor with the motion in the Glass field of view will supposedly boost accuracy, the report said.

NewScientist believes this tech could help individuals suffering with "face blindness", a neurological disorder that makes it impossible to recognize others. The app could tell the affected user the names of friends nearby… at least while they wear a certain set of clothes, that is.

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback