By Len Ramirez

PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — A Silicon Valley firm is providing state-of-the-art facial recognition technology currently being used at the international airport in Sochi, Russia to identify athletes, fans, and dignitaries attending the Olympics.

“Such technology allows us to get a very high quality 3-D model of a face,” said Denis Baev of Palo Alto-based Artec Group.

Artec makes 3-D cameras which can identify persons by their facial features. The cameras are so sensitive they can distinguish between identical twins and can even identify persons who are in disguise.

“Experiments in Japan have proven that it can actually distinguish between twins. So it is very accurate,” Baev told KPIX 5.

“We invented new type of 3-D sensors,” said entrepreneur and Russian immigrant Art Yukhin, who developed the camera and software with his company.

Artec cameras are being used at the Sochi airport and in other airports around the world, according to the company. The company said it could be coming to airports in the U.S., police stations, and even to homes where it could let people in.

Working through Microsoft’s widely-available Xbox Kinect, a consumer version of the software can produce full body scans on a PC or tablet. The image could be sent to a 3-D printer to create a miniature plastic model.

“It’s almost like looking in the mirror but much better,” said Boris Bodolskiy of Artec.

“We will all experience the 3-D revolution. So, people will like to have 3-D selfies printed, instead of regular photos,” Yukhin said.

While other companies have used facial recognition software, notably Facebook, some critics fear the privacy intrusion of having peoples’ faces imaged and databanked and possibly used to build profiles without their knowledge.


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