Taking a page from Officer Alex Murphy, police officers in Brazil will soon be adding a layer of cyborg tech to their law enforcement toolbox via glasses rigged with facial recognition tech. The glasses, dubbed “RoboCop” glasses, scan faces in a crowd and check them against a criminal database, and officers in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo have already been through demos with the technology.
At distances up to 50 yards, the glasses can reportedly scan 400 faces per second, comparing 46,000 biometric points on a person’s face against a database of terrorists and other criminals. If a match is made it is indicated by a red light that appears within the glasses frame, allowing police to zero in on those people with problematic pasts (or currently questionable legal statuses) without having to put police and citizens through the tedium of random ID checks.
As far as crowd security is concerned, it’s a pretty cool piece of technology if it works as advertised. And Brazil is due to have some big crowds passing through in the next few years. Aside from being an international tourist destination year round, cops in Rio will have to secure both the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, and police there hope to have the technology widely deployed by that point.
Brazilian Police Debut 'RoboCop' Glasses Ahead of World Cup
Imagine if police could stand back from a raucous crowd and scan the pack for criminals, without ever having to question a suspect or put their troops in harm's way.
That's exactly what Brazilian police are hoping to do with new eyeglasses equipped with stealthy crime-fighting properties. Dubbed "RoboCop" glasses after the 1987 action film, the glasses are fitted with a tiny camera that scans up to 400 faces per second. It cross-checks those images against a database of criminals and terrorists, and flashes a small red light inside the glasses if a match comes up. Then the officer knows whom to home in on and whom to leave alone.
On its optimal settings, the camera can scan 400 faces a second at a distance of up to 50 yards away. But the settings can be changed to recognize faces at a slower pace, at up to 12 miles away.
Agostini said the camera and database compare 46,000 biometric points on a person's face, so the chances of mistaken identity are slim.
"To the naked eye, two people may appear identical, but with 46,000 points compared, the data will not be beaten," he said.
Police in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo have received demo lessons with the glasses, and they're expected to try them out in real situations at soccer games and concerts in the coming weeks. The goal is to practice with the glasses in time to use them widely at the next soccer World Cup, to be held in Brazil in 2014. The existence of the new high-tech glasses was first reported by Brazilian newspaper O Estado de Sao Paolo.
In the original "RoboCop" film, actor Peter Weller played a fatally wounded Detroit police officer who comes back to life as half-man, half-robot. A remake of the film is due out in 2013, and Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp and Keanu Reeves are all rumored to be in the running for the lead role.
No word on whether they've had a chance to try the new glasses.