The U.S. military is spending more than $4.5 million to develop facial recognition technology that reads the pattern of heat being emitted by faces in order to identify specific people. The technology would work in the dark and across long distances, according to contracts posted on a federal spending database.
Facial recognition is already employed by the military, which uses the technology to identify individuals on the battlefield. But existing facial recognition technology typically relies on images generated by standard cameras, such as those found in iPhone or CCTV networks.
Now, the military wants to develop a facial recognition system that analyzes infrared images to identify individuals. The Army Research Lab has previously publicized research in this area, but these contracts, which started at the end of September 2019 and run until 2021, indicate the technology is now being actively developed for use in the field.
“Sensors should be demonstrable in environments such as targets seen through automotive windshield glass, targets that are backlit, and targets that are obscured due to light weather (e.g., fog),” the Department of Defense indicated when requesting proposals.
The DoD is calling for the technology to be incorporated into a device that is small enough to be carried by an individual. The device should be able to operate from a distance of 10 to 500 meters and match individuals against a watchlist.
According to the details of the request, the Defense Forensics and Biometrics Agency is directly overseeing work on the technology. Last year, OneZero reported that the DFBA is responsible for the entirety of DoD’s facial recognition, fingerprint, and DNA analysis efforts. Will Graves, listed as the primary contact in the Army request for the technology, has represented DFBA at a number of industry conferences since 2018.
“Sensors should be demonstrable in…