Maastricht Economic and social Research and  training centre on Innovation and Technology

UNU-MERIT graduate wins action research prize
Maastricht University celebrated the opening of the academic year on last week by asking the question: ‘Can academics change the world?’ In the Master’s category, the award went to Nrupaja Bhide, who just graduated from UNU-MERIT’s Master’s programme in Public Policy and Human Development (MPP). Nrupaja saw that people in her native city, Pune in India, don’t do much in the way of waste separation, despite government policy supporting this. She hopes to be able to make a small step towards a cleaner India, first by investigating what prevents Pune residents from separating waste and then by providing them with easy-to-use composting techniques, including plants which they can grow on digestible organic waste material.

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  • Even a mask won’t hide you from the latest face recognition tech
    Face recognition software can now see through your cunning disguise – even you are wearing a mask.

    Researchers from the University of Cambridge trained a machine learning algorithm to locate 14 key facial points. These are the points the human brain pays most attention to when we look at someone’s face.

    The researchers then hand-labelled 2000 photos of people wearing hats, glasses, scarves and fake beards to indicate the location of those same key points, even if they couldn’t be seen. The algorithm looked at a subset of these images to learn how the disguised faces corresponded with the undisguised faces.

    The system accurately identified people a wearing scarf 77% of the time – a cap and scarf 69% of the time and a cap, scarf and glasses 55% of the time. This isn’t as good as systems that recognise undisguised human faces, but it is the best at seeing through disguises, according to the researchers.

    The system only needs to be able to see a fraction of facial key points – most of which are around the eyes and mouth – to be able to guess where the other points are likely to be. Based on that guess, it can identify the person if it has already been shown a map of their key points.

    The team aims to take the research even further and see if it’s possible to design an algorithm that can identify someone wearing a rigid plastic mask, like the V for Vendetta masks that are popular at some protests.

    New Scientist    September 07, 2017