Firefox Demo: Facial Detection Within Videos

Earlier this week, we wrote about the tech side of open video efforts, which are poised to push forward the possibilities for use of video by making it native to web browsers.

Here’s a demo we got from Mike Beltzner, director of Firefox, that shows one such possibility. Mozilla evangelist Paul Rouget created an in-video facial detection algorithm using JavaScript that picks up on faces in a video playing within a browser using HTML 5, and notes the color of the shirt below the face. Then, in any other video loaded in the browser with that same facial detection algorithm, that face can be identified as one and the same. Beltzner emphasized that this was put together in just one night.

With the incorporation of actual facial recognition technology, you could see this being quite cool — simple use cases might include security cameras or easy Facebook tagging. Though it’s true that developers have already made many cool things with existing video players like Flash (s ADBE) and Silverlight (s MSFT), the inclusion of video as an element in the coming HTML 5 means that video can be more flexibly manipulated and extended across web sites, without ever downloading a plug-in.

Another Mozilla evangelist, Chris Blizzard, used Rouget’s facial detection demo to show how a person’s latest Twitter update might be overlaid onto a video above their head, once their face has been recognized. For those interested in investigating this further, here’s his longer demo from the Open Video Conference last weekend.