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Facial Recognition System – How it Works, Architecture & Applications

Facial Recognition System is used to automatically identify a person through a digital image. It is one of the many wonders that AI research has come up with. It is a topic of great curiosity for techies. Let us take a dip into the topic to see how things work. In this post we will discuss about what is Facial Recognition System, it’s working principle, Architecture, applications, advantages and disadvantages.

What is Facial Recognition System

Facial Recognition System is a Bio-metric Technology that uses different facial features to identify a person. The process of this system includes Detection of Face, Pre-processing of Facial Nodal Points (Feature Extraction) and Face Recognition.

Fig 1 Face

Fig. 1 –  Introduction to Facial Recognition System

If you look at yourself, you can see that your face has certain distinguishable feature points. These different points make up the  facial features. Software defines these features as Nodal Points.
Approximately, there are “80 Nodal Points” on a human face. Below are few Nodal Points that are measured by the software.

  • Distance between the eyes
  • Width of the nose
  • Depth of the eye socket
  • Cheek bones
  • Jaw line
  • Chin

Nodal Points

Fig. 2 – Nodal Points on Face

Architecture of Facial Recognition System

The architecture of the System consists of three modules, namely:

  • Enrolment Module
  • Database
  • Identification Module

Enrolment Module

It scans and captures analog or digital image of a living being.


An entity which handles compression, processing, storage and also accounts for comparison of the captured data with stored data.

Identification Module

This module interfaces with the application system.


Fig. 3 – Architecture of Facial Recognition System

How does Facial Recognition System work

Facial Recognition process generally includes three stages:

  • Face Detection
  • Feature Extraction
  • Face Recognition

Face Detection

It accepts the image as an input and checks if ‘Face’ appears in the image and calculates its position on the image. The output of this stage is ‘Patches’ which contains ‘Face’ and Face alignment is done which acts as pre-processing stage for Feature Extraction.

Feature Extraction

Face Patch is transformed in to a set of Fiducial Points corresponding to their locations or it is transformed into vectors with specific dimension.

Face Recognition

This step includes recognition of Face from the database. When the system receives Face image, it undergoes Face Detection and Feature Extraction process. Then, the features are compared with each Face in the Database using the nodal points on the Face.

Working of Face recognition

Fig. 4 – Different Stages of Facial Recognition System

Identification and Verification procedure is carried out where the system makes a probable identification of the Image and is verified whether the probability is True or False. i.e. comparison of the input vectors with the stored vectors in the Database occurs using different classification techniques.

Applications of Facial Recognition System

The applications include:

  • Unlock Phones
  • Find missing people
  • Track attendance
  • Computer security
  • Banking using ATM
  • Identify people on social media platforms
  • Recognize VIPs at events
  • Prison visitor systems
  • Border control
  • Voting system
  • Physical access control of buildings, areas

Advantages of Facial Recognition System

From unlocking your smartphone to security sector, it brings other benefits to the companies. The advantages are:

  • Increased SecurityWith the help of this technology, it is easier to track down any thieves or other trespassers and it can also help identify terrorists or any other criminals with the help of the face scan only.
  • Fast and AccurateThe process of recognizing a face is very fast, takes a second or less.
  • Automation of identificationNow there is no need of human assistance for identification process. Identification process is completely automated Facial Recognition technology and not only takes seconds but is also incredibly accurate.
  • Cost-efficiency– Since this technology is automated, it also reduces the need for human assistance to personally verify a match. This means, it can save costs on hiring security staff and other security measures.
  • No Contact– It is preferred over other bio-metric options like fingerprint scanning because of its non-contact process. People need not to worry about the problems related to fingerprint identification technology such as germs or smudges.
  • Easy integration– Mostly, Facial Recognition tools work seamlessly with the existing security software.

Disadvantages of Facial Recognition System

The disadvantages include:

  • Surveillance Angle – Identification process is under great pressure of the surveillance angle that was responsible for face capturing. To capture a face through the recognition software, the multiple angles are being used.
  • Data Storage – Data storage is gold in today’s world. To store many thousands of faces, lot of space is required.
  • High Implementation Costs – Facial Recognition requires high quality cameras and advanced software for more accuracy and speed.
  • Legislation – There are concerns that bio-metrics is progressing too rapidly for regulators, legislators, and the judicial system to set up standardized rules and precedents around their use.
Also Read:
Digital Radiography in Dentistry - How it Works, Types, Applications
Transformer – How it Works, Parts, Types, Applications, Advantages
Embedded System - Characteristics, Types, Advantages & Disadvantages
Neetika Jain
Neetika Jain
Neetika is a B.Tech. (Computer Science) graduate and has 4 years of work experience in Infopro India Pvt. Ltd. as Software Tester. She is an author, editor and partner at Electricalfundablog.


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