The first episode of the third season of Black Mirror made a great impression on us. In this episode, a social networking app is rampantly used throughout the world, which enables people to rate each other behaviour, which has a significant effect on peoples lives. While the future in this episode is dystopian, reading the Microsoft Vision API made us realise it is actually possible to implement an app like this, where people connect each other just through computer vision. Furthermore, we realised this idea has great potential for networking during events and as a fascinating addition to our social networking apps, of course avoiding the rating mechanic to ensure it does not lead to dystopia.
Thus we created InterFace. This app enables users to connect with others using only the camera on their phones. When first launched, the user makes a profile together with a picture. This profile is then uploaded to a server, and the Face ID API is trained such that it can recognize the new user. Users can connect with others by taking a picture with a camera, which sends the picture to the Face ID API for recognition, after which the names of the people in the picture are displayed using bounding boxes. When a box is tapped, that users profile is shown. The app is built upon the Microsoft Face ID API for the identification of faces. Furthermore, Firebase is used as a server to store profiles of users.
The creation on the app went surprisingly smoothly. The Vision API is an amazing ability to identify faces from just very few images. The most time was spent on making the UI of the app usable and intuitive. The resulting app works well and is a definitive proof of concept. Developing this app taught us some exciting new technologies, like how to build serverless apps using Firebase, and how to train and use models using the Microsoft Vision API.
We believe the app has great potential for the future. Especially in the case where it can be integrated into augmented reality technology like Google Glass, it has amazing potential to increase the ability for people to remember people and to connect with others. Another possibility is to apply this idea to a global social network, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.