How to Build a Portable DIY Face Detection System for under $30!

For those of you who want to build a portable DIY face detection system (without the use of full-sized computers/laptops/netbooks), engineering students at Cornell university have come up with a simple solution using an Atmel ATmega644 8-bit microcontroller, a C3088 camera module with an OmniVision OV6620 CMOS image sensor, Atmel’s AT45DB321D Serial Dataflash, a Varitronix MDLS16264 LCD module for output, a 9-volt battery, and a small wooden structure for chin support. And all of this can be done for about $30.

Best of all, all schematics and code is provided so you can duplicate the circuit yourself for your future projects.

For our senior ECE design, my partner and I created a portable face recognition system. To our knowledge, it’s the first face recognition system on a microcontroller. You enroll with one button and log in with another. You can build our system for about $30 and then use it to control access to anything: a safe, a door, or the beer fridge. In our demo video, we just output to an LCD for feedback instead of actually controlling access to something.

Also see video of this portable DIY face detection system in action:


(The system uses a face “template”, which is generated upon “enrolling”, then used for future face detection, pretty cool stuff.)

How it works:

When a user attempts to log in, a new face template is created from the newly captured image as described above. This template is then compared with every other saved template. The measure of correlation we use is the cosine of the angle between the different templates. If the correlation between two templates is above the desired threshold then a “match” has been found. After testing, we decided to use 0.85 as a threshold. This was small enough to reduce false negatives while high enough to eliminate false positives.

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