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Japanese cigarette machine uses facial-recognition to judge who's too young to smoke

Published by Dan on November 7, 2007 9:15 AM

Go go gadget cigarette machine. Leave it to the wildly creative folks of Japan to come up with a product this thought-provoking. Kyoto-based vending machine maker Fujitaka Co. has found an entirely different use for facial-recognition technology. The company has developed a cigarette machine equipped with a tiny camera that can analyze facial features to determine if an individual is too young to purchase smokes.

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How does this gizmo work? First, the customer presses the machine's "adult recognition" button. The camera then takes a photo of the would-be purchaser and uses sophisticated face-recognition software to examine features such as wrinkles, droopiness, and body frame. Those who are determined to be above the age of 20 are allowed to complete their purchase. In cases where the machine has trouble distinguishing the young from the old, the customer is asked to insert a license to verify their age.

Up until this wacky creation, facial-recognition technology had been seen primarily as a tool for high-security applications such as bank and airport video surveillance.

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