Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

HP's face-tracking bug

  1. Dec 31, 2009 #1

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Can't believe I haven't seen a thread on this yet.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/12/22/hp.webcams/

    The YouTube video is here, and it's pretty darned funny.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 31, 2009 #2
    It should probably be in the comp sci forum. It's a great lesson on testing and robustness and all that other real world stuff that sometimes gets lost in comp sci programs.

    For any non-computer scientists:
    Basically, it's a standard problem in computer vision-a lot of detection algorithms rely on contrast to find features, so low contrast situations (bad lighting, similar colors, etc.) can really mess with what an algorithm finds. There are ways to correct for this, but it looks like hp just threw out a pretty basic facial-recognition solution that doesn't.
     
  4. Dec 31, 2009 #3
    I have an HP and I think they threw out a many a solution that doesn't.
     
  5. Dec 31, 2009 #4
    Wasn't there a "What about Ted" episode about this?
     
  6. Dec 31, 2009 #5
    You mean "Better off Ted"? Yeah, there was an episode where the company installed sensors that wouldn't detect black people (so lights would turn off when they were working, drinking fountains wouldn't work for them, etc) so the company hired white people to follow around the black people...
     
  7. Dec 31, 2009 #6

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    ha ha
    Life imitates Art!
     
  8. Dec 31, 2009 #7

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Did you notice that their nametags are backward in the image? Either the camera also reverses images, or they're doing something odd like aiming the camera at a mirror (there's also a reflected glare of some other lighting in the image). It may be true that there's a contrast problem with getting a good focus, but it seems they're doing something else in that video to trick the camera.
     
  9. Dec 31, 2009 #8
    Someone else probably knows why this is, but the cameras built in to Macs automatically reverse the image as well.
     
  10. Dec 31, 2009 #9

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I've never noticed that on mine. I use it often to Skype with my boyfriend, and have the PIP display on so I know I'm still in view.
     
  11. Dec 31, 2009 #10
    My experience was that I was drawing a portrait of a guy, which took about three weeks, and he had me hold the drawing up to his Mac several different times during the process to take work-in-progress shots of it. I saw right away that all these shots were reversed, right and left. I asked him why and he said "I dunno, the camera just does it that way." It could be it was only still shots, or, it was only certain models of Macs that had this peculiar quirk.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook