Scientists use face recognition to help identify disabilities
04 April 2018 13:43 GMT

Technology developed by New England's Hunter Medical Research Institute aims to help diagnose intellectual disabilities through facial recognition. 

Developed by a collective of medical and technology professionals, ‘FaceMatch’ links facial traits in undiagnosed disabilities through technology originally used in policing and security. 

Lead researcher and senior geneticist Dr Tracy Dudding-Byth investigated the concept after seeing the technology used in surveillance, she said on Wednesday. 

“I came up with this idea after watching an episode of ABC’s Catalyst on the use of face-matching technology in the passport office,” she said. “That’s when I realised this kind of software could be used to match children with undiagnosed intellectual disabilities.”

With the help of a Hunter New England Health Fellowship, Dr Dudding-Byth began the project. A $143,500 grant from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation helped propel its development with Hunter Medical Research Institute.

The interactive system allows parents of children who have unknown disabilities to upload a photograph and description of their child, in conjunction with a doctor, to see if there is a match from another child somewhere in the world.