Innovation That Matters

Primates app | Photo source Pixabay

App identifies endangered primates using facial recognition


A new facial recognition app is helping to identify and protect endangered primates.

Without protection and proper conservation, many endangered primates face extinction. A new app, PrimID, is using facial recognition software to help track endangered primates, including golden monkeys, chimpanzees, and lemurs. Professor Anil Jain and his doctoral student Debayan Deb developed the app at Michigan State University’s biometrics lab. The app is available on android devices and is free to download. PrimID is powered by convolutional neural networks and has a collection of thousands of images of individual primates.

Each primate on the database has a name and a biography. PrimID users can upload an image of a primate and the app will scan the database to identify who the primate is. Another feature is a verification mode on the app that allows users to compare images of two primates for similarities. The app therefore helps identify endangered primates in cases of trafficking. In addition, it offers a cost effective and accurate solution. Tracking devices can be expensive and time-consuming to place on animals. PrimID offers a free solution that is fast and boasts an accuracy rate of over 90 percent. It also acts as a deterrent to future trafficking as the app enables users to monitor illegal activities. Furthermore, if the app cannot find an exact match for the primate, it will search the dataset for five potential primates.

In the future, the creators of PrimID hope to develop the app by building a larger primate dataset. They also hope to create a primate face detector feature and make their tool available on open-source websites. Another app-based innovation from Jordan uses technology to assist charity work, connecting volunteers and donors. In South Korea, a mobile application created by the Seoul City government informs users about air pollution. In what other ways can we use mobile phones as tools to tackle larger issues such as conservation?



Download PDF