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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.

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  • freggo
    Wondering WHY Google or anyone would come up with an app like this.
    I mean can anyone name a "legit" use for this ?

    Reply
  • Axelion
    Hmm...I can't wait for someone to create Google P0RN app, which enables the glass to see through clothing and any solid objects.
    Reply
  • derekullo
    Aren't you Richard Simmon's friend, Richard Simmons?
    Reply
  • Vestin
    freggoWondering WHY Google or anyone would come up with an app like this.I mean can anyone name a "legit" use for this ?Have you ever been in a situation where you couldn't quite recall what a given person's name was ?
    With this thing - that would hardly be an issue.
    Just because people should be able to do math in their mind and on paper doesn't make calculators useless... Just because people usually remember others, it doesn't mean they shouldn't be spared the awkwardness when they don't.
    Reply
  • Pyree
    But what if I am trying to find my friends in a nude beach?
    Reply
  • Shin-san
    Wow. Google is proving to be creepier by the day
    Reply
  • thecolorblue
    freggoWondering WHY Google or anyone would come up with an app like this.I mean can anyone name a "legit" use for this ?surveilance of the population... get with the program bro.
    Reply
  • Cons29
    so if you borrow a brothers clothe's watch or whatever, what happens then
    Reply
  • tokencode
    VestinHave you ever been in a situation where you couldn't quite recall what a given person's name was ?With this thing - that would hardly be an issue.Just because people should be able to do math in their mind and on paper doesn't make calculators useless... Just because people usually remember others, it doesn't mean they shouldn't be spared the awkwardness when they don't.

    If you don't know me well enough to remember my name, please just ask it.
    Reply
  • IAmVortigaunt
    If the main selling point of this is to avoid the mildly awkward, infrequent instances of not remembering people's names, I hardly see it worth the huge privacy trade-off.
    Reply