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Last updated 4:28PM ET
September 25, 2018
WFCR Local News
WFCR Local News
Researchers Use Facial Recognition Technology for Tracking Animals
(wfcr) - A project currently under development by a UMass Amherst professor may help researchers track thousands of animals at a time, without the need for invasive tagging procedures. A $750,000 National Science Foundation grant will allow Kevin McGarigal to further develop a computer vision system that tracks individuals within a species. He says its similar to facial recognition technology used by law enforcement. McGarigal's software analyzes photographs of animals and, using a set of algorithms, identifies and catalogues each individual animal. McGarigal says he and former UMass grad student Sai Ravela came up with the idea for the technology during a study of the threatened marbled salamander species.

McGarigal says traditional tracking methods aren't always viable because of the thousands of individual animals that need to be catalogued in a short time span. He says part of the grant money will go to expanding the technology to track other species. Toads, elephants and leopards are possible candidates because of their distinctive features.
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