The Nose Knows: Facial recognition system to confirms dogs' identities through noseprints
As more Chinese people embrace the joy of owning a pet, the need for better pet management is increasing, too.
In today's 'New and Improved' segment, CGTN's Lu Sirui takes us to a Chinese artificial intelligence company that sees an opportunity in this. Have you ever been troubled when a pet has gone missing? Or scared by an angry dog off its leash? Well, think about a society where everyone pitches in to help locate your lost dog, by uploading a couple of photos or identifying a troublemaking dog that's bitten someone. Recently, a so-called "dog-face recognition" platform, launched by a private company, is offering such possibility.
LU SIRUI BEIJING "As every human has distinct fingerprints, every dog has their unique identifiable features on their noses. The program developers hope that a few photos taken of the dog's faces will help to confirm their identity."
MEGVII is a Chinese artificial intelligence company with eight-years of human facial recognition experience. They are now applying similar technology to dogs. On their PET ID platform, owners can register their pets via smartphone. They fill in their own information and then upload pictures of their dogs' noses.
LI GUANG, SENIOR RESEARCHER FASTAI, MEGVII "Compared to chip injection, our method is easier, cheaper and safer."
The technology can also identify and authenticate dogs by comparing information of photos from different dogs. This approach can help enormously in finding lost dogs, and notifying pet owners by identifying that their dogs are in trouble.
LI GUANG, SENIOR RESEARCHER FASTAI, MEGVII "In the past, when we tried to find lost dogs, we used manpower. It wasn't accurate at all. Now, the AI technology is empowering human beings with the ability to differentiate between different dogs. The accuracy can be as high as 95%."
Data shows that the number of Chinese households with pets hit 99 million in 2018. Building a database for pets and owners is only a small step before China establishes a complete registration system for the booming market. This technology, however, cannot exist without government participation or society's engagement.
SHI JINGYU, DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL CHINA SMALL ANIMAL PROTECTION ASSOCIATION "Local governments, especially in first-tiered and second-tiered cities, their attitude towards companion animals has improved considerably. They're also becoming more aware that the city's attitude towards pets reflects the reputation of the city. We hope a solid registration mechanism can be soon established."
The company also says that they are planning to expand this technology to identify other types of pets. Lu Sirui, CGTN, Beijing.