Research

Google's AI knows when a stranger is looking at your phone

Google's AI knows when a stranger is looking at your phone

Google researchers have created a phone app that can tell when nosy strangers are peeking over your shoulder - and it goes out of its way to embarrass the snoops.

During an upcoming presentation at the Neural Information Processing Systems conference next week, Hee Jung Ryu and Florian Schroff are scheduled to discuss their electronic screen protector project which uses the selfie camera on a Google Pixel and artificial intelligence to detect if multiple people are looking at the screen.

Ryu and Schroff claim that their program is able to identify a second face (that isn't your own, of course) within two milliseconds, and can operate under a number of different lighting conditions. The new feature, which is still being worked on, was demonstrated in a recent YouTube video.

The screen is showing the targeted stranger and is also displaying a text that a stranger is looking at your phone's screen.

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As you can see, the software has the ability to interrupt the app you're using and show a camera view of the creeper lurking. According to a brief description posted by the researchers, the runtime for the gaze detection is 2ms.

It's a big step forward in personal security and privacy control, and it seems Google is all for it.

This new system is indicative of a larger trend towards artificial intelligence that can run on less powerful mobile devices.

Google had already been toying with gaze detection, too. The facial recognition and gaze tracker has to be fast, and takes two milliseconds to detect each person's gaze, 47 milliseconds for each face recognition operation, and an average of 115 milliseconds per frame for face detection - not enough time for a human to steal much of a glance, let alone to read private messages.


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