High End Stores Doing Face Recognition (and lifehacking: magnetics, mind-blowing RF geekery)

It looks like modern facial recogntion systems have gotten good enough that sunglasses and hats can be gotten around. Presumably nose + jawline + mouth + eyebrows (if possible) are enough of a reference.

Context is high-end retail stores adding facial recognition, ostensibly to spot B-list celebrities and ensure they get top-notch service. The article notes this doesn’t make sense… I suspect the real reason is shops wanting to build up “discount card user”-like behavior profiles on cash-paying customers. My own experiences in certain camera-heavy stores (where I had to give them an address during one visit, and received mailings targeted based on purchases from other visits) bear this out.

Scary shit.

While I’ve nothing against high-end shopping this seems a fine reason to stick to thin-margin no-service establishments.

Lifehacking – magnetic stuff: Y’all remember the neat “micropower TMS” device? The one originally designed by a physicist-turned-doctor to ward off Russian electromagnetic warfare? I’ve found a neat trick.

Quick refresher: it’s a 9V-powered UJT relaxation oscillator driving a coil with a sliver of mu-metal as a core. The power to the UJT is gated by a 555, operating at ~7.8Hz, 50% duty cycle. (Let me know if you want a schematic, I’ve been meaning to do proper one one of these days.)

It used to be I just ran the UJT at 14Hz. But hook a pot up to the UJT so you can vary the frequency, and pick a timing capacitor so you can sweep up to a few hundred hertz at least.

Now settle in to a comfy chair in a quiet room, and (without looking at a frequency counter) sweep the UJT frequency at a rate of two to three Hertz per second. Start around 8Hz.* Stop when you feel a little better, or a little more full of energy.

* (Due to the 555 gating, 8Hz at the UJT is actually 4Hz in practice, assuming not too much leakage while the power is off.)

The trick is that by superimposing the new frequency on a 7.8Hz signal, the body reacts more strongly than it would in absence of the fundamental.

Mind-blowing RF geekery: If you’re interested in radio, you’ll be fascinated by the following two links. I like how a couple of ham radio operators confirmed the discovery using a spare flourescent light and some sections of metal pipe! http://la3za.blogspot.de/2011/09/communication-with-vector-potential.html http://www.arrl.org/files/file/QEX_Next_Issue/Jul-Aug_2012/Works_QEX_7_12.pdf

http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/07/21/203273764/high-end-stores-use-facial-recognition-tools-to-spot-vips

“When a young Indian-American woman walked into the funky L.A. jewelry boutique , store manager Lauren Twisselman thought she was just like any other customer. She didn’t realize the woman was actress and writer .

“I hadn’t watched The Office,” Twisselman says. Kaling both wrote and appeared in the NBC hit.

This lack of recognition is precisely what the VIP-identification technology designed by is supposed to prevent.

The U.K.-based company already supplies similar software to security services to help identify terrorists and criminals. The ID technology works by analyzing footage of people’s faces as they walk through a door, taking measurements to create a numerical code known as a “face template,” and checking it against a database.

In the retail setting, the database of customers’ faces is comprised of celebrities and valued customers, according to London’s . If a face is a match, the program sends an alert to staff via computer, iPad or smartphone, providing details like dress size, favorite buys or shopping history.

The software works even when people are wearing sunglasses, hats and scarves. Recent tests have found that facial hair, aging, or changes in weight or hair color do not affect the accuracy of the system.”

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