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Can identical twins fool Windows 10 face recognition?

Barry Collins
24 Aug 2015
Twins
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Six sets of identical twins attempt to beat Microsoft's new security system

Windows 10 now lets users log into their PC with nothing more than their face, but does that mean identical twins get a free pass to each other's accounts? It would appear not.

The Australian newspaper decided to put Windows Hello authentication to the test by getting six sets of identical twins to try and beat Microsoft's new facial recognition system. One twin from each pair registered their face with Windows 10 before the other attempted to log in on their sibling's account. 

On each occasion, the twin failed to trick Windows 10 into giving them access - although one set of twins failed to get Windows Hello to recognise their faces at all. And when each of the five remaining sets of twins registered individual accounts, Windows 10 was able to tell the twins apart and log them into the correct account. Although hardly a statistically significant sample, it does appear that Windows 10 can distinguish between two seemingly identical faces. 

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Windows 10's facial recognition system doesn't work with any old webcam. Instead, it requires dedicated infrared cameras that can detect not only the shape and position of facial features, but the depth of those features. It's this level of sophistication that not only allows Windows 10 to tell apart identical twins, but to prevent people from logging into a PC by holding a photograph of the account holder in front of the camera. 

Alas, that means that facial recognition will be unavailable to the vast majority of Windows 10 users, until infrared cameras become a common feature in laptops and tablets - which is by no means inevitable. Only a select few models from companies such as Dell, Lenovo and Asus currently support the RealSense cameras, made by Intel.

(Photo courtesy of DVIDSHUB, used under Creative Commons.)

 

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