In the ongoing fight to keep people (especially young people) from smoking the Japanese finance ministry is considering allowing facial recognition software to be installed in cigarette vending machines to stop underage smokers from buying smokes. Fujita Corporation developed the new system; it compares data that is retrieved from a camera that is installed into the machine to their database that contains facial data from over 100,000 individuals. By comparing facial characteristics, such as wrinkles surrounding the eyes, bone structure and skin sags, the system can determine if the user is old enough to purchase cigarettes. Fujita claims that the machine can determine the correct age of an individual 90% of the time, the individuals that the machine is not able to verify can insert their I.D. into the machine, and once their age is confirmed they can make their purchase. The whole idea behind facial recognition software is to stop young people from simply inserting an older persons I.D. into a machine and to make it easier for of age smokers to purchase cigarettes, which seems a little counter-intuitive if your plan is to curtail smoking. The system is still waiting for approval.


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