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iPhoto '09 uses face detection package from Omron

Robert Palmer

An intrepid tipster emailed us late yesterday, and described an interesting challenge: He figured that if Apple didn't develop iPhoto's face recognition technology themselves, who did?

He disassembled the app using OTX, a developer tool based on Apple's otool, and found the areas of the software related to facial recognition. There, the string "OKAO" appeared, including in the "FaceRecognitionManager" object.

OKAO Vision is a product from Japanese firm Omron Global that -- hey hey -- recognizes faces and their various features. Does the face have big eyes? Are they in trouble? What is the person looking at? The transliteration "okao" apparently means "face" in Japanese, according to their website.

"OMRON is committed to raising the accuracy of face detection so that OKAO Vision can be used in many different lifestyle occasions and social settings," their website reads. iPhoto '09 must fit in with that plan. Omron has other facial recognition products, including software for mobile phones, and a camera-plus-hardware-plus-software console that can accurately tell if a person is smiling or not.

The software works reasonably well, according to Gizmodo, but does pick up some false positives in patterns, or, say, Mount Rushmore.

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