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How facial recognition technology could be utilized in a COVID-19 world

A local company is partnering with University Hospitals to make it a reality.

CLEVELAND — It's not science fiction or the movies; facial recognition technology is now part of our world.

TensorMark Inc., a US cloud-based AI and computer vision technology provider, is working with University Hospitals to come up with a way to make it work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're trying to engage all the healthcare systems and anybody directly involved in healthcare that can help us build a database to try to figure out how to make society safer outside of our homes," TensorMark COO and co-founder Ali Manav said.

Right now it's just ideas, but one thing is clear: The patient determines whether or not they want their information shared. Only permission-based consumer information will be included in the data bank based on testing in compliance with UH guidelines and privacy laws, including HIPAA.

So, imagine if your coronavirus test result could be attached to your face.

"Our end user is not the health care system," Manav says. "Our end users are venues such as sporting venues, movie theaters, concert halls."

That's who would buy the device to check faces; the healthcare system would be the one who provides the information with the patient’s permission.  

"It will become part of an individual’s record that they can control and use that information if they want to send it out to TensorMark," Neil Wyant, director for UH Ventures, told us. "So, TensorMark's customers are able to identify them walking into the stadium, maybe they'll set up a separate entrance."

TensorMark's technology can be deployed via a wearable (e.g., VUZIX Blade), smartphone, or mounted device at the entrance of a certified location to validate an individual via facial recognition.

"Based on such validation, locations are able to take a number of different actions, from fast-tracking an individual for entrance to automatically unlocking and opening doors," Andrew Jacobson, President of TensorMark, says.

You would expect to see this technology in security settings such as banks and ATMs.  But soon, if not already, it will be used in retail and entertainment venues. Manav says TensorMark technology is already being used in several companies.  

The ideas of how to use it are endless, and they’re still figuring out how it could be used in the COVID world in which we now live.

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