In an effort to better understand their subjects, the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas has created a panda-centric facial recognition app that gives researchers a legitimate business reason to spend entire days staring at pictures of adorable pandas. The new app is able to discern the identities of individual animals, a trick that will make it easier to study the highly endangered panda population in captivity and in the wild.
“The app and database will help us gather more precise and well-rounded data on the population, distribution, ages, gender ratio, birth and deaths of wild pandas, who live in deep mountains and are hard to track,” said researcher Chen Peng. “It will definitely help us improve efficiency and effectiveness in conservation and management of the animals.”
The facial recognition app was developed alongside researchers from Singapore Nanyang Technological University and Sichuan Normal University. The database currently includes more than 120,000 panda images and 10,000 panda videos, of which roughly 10,000 images have been categorized so far.
Though most people usually think of human applications, this is not the first time that facial recognition tech has turned towards animals instead of people. Earlier this year, conservationists created ChimpFace to track the movements of stolen chimpanzees. Before that, LemurFaceID was launched to assist with research and conservation efforts.
Source: Xinhua Net
May 27, 2019 – by Eric Weiss