Biometric technology is playing a role in helping residents of Hanoi, Vietnam, to get their hands on face masks.
Authorities are deploying automated face mask dispensers in the city, and the machines feature facial recognition designed to identify residents. Each resident is permitted to take three to six face masks, and presumably the facial recognition technology will help to ensure that no one is hoarding the free masks.
Vietnam has has only suffered relatively light health impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks in large part to aggressive government action. Authorities closed borders to foreigners in March and quarantined and tested all returning citizens. As a result, the country went over three months without local transmissions, until an outbreak in the city of Da Nang in late July.
The country, with a population of close to 100 million, has reported a total of just over a thousand COVID-19 cases, and 34 deaths.
It isn’t clear which company has supplied the facial recognition technology being used in the automated mask dispensing machines. But it may be worth noting that in April of this year, the domestic firm VinAI Research announced that it had honed its facial recognition technology for use on subjects wearing masks.
In any case, the use of facial recognition in the mask dispensing machines may prove helpful in automating the effort to get masks to residents with minimal human contact, though residents will still need to press buttons on the machines in order to receive the masks once they are identified.
Sources: VietnamPlus, BBC News
August 31, 2020 – by Alex Perala