Face Scanning Vending Machine Fooled By Photos

from the like-we-couldn't-see-that-coming dept

Last year, we wrote about how cigarette vending machines in Japan were using facial recognition software to make sure the buyer was of an appropriate age. As we noted at the time, it seemed unlikely that such a system would work very well, and, indeed, The Raw Feed lets us know that it's easily fooled by a magazine photo of an older person. Not too surprising, of course, but you would think that someone would have tested for such things before putting the machines into practice. Unless, of course, they really don't care about the age of the buyers.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 5:36pm

    So, one thing I don't quite get is why we have an age limit on smoking. Is it just because we know it'll kill you? It's OK for an adult to poison themselves, but we'll arrest a kid (or fine the vendor) if he tries the same?

    I don't mean for that to be a stawman (but it is). I really don't get what the basis for these rules are, though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 5:47pm

    The reasoning behind the rules, to the best of my knowledge, is that the chemicals in cigarettes do even worse things to an undeveloped body, similar to the way alcohol can damage the growing brain of a child. While an age limit is by nature controversial - there is no one rate at which people mature - the law is an attempt to minimize damage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    some old guy, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 6:08pm


    Sorry #2, but both your assumption and the notion you used to concieve it are wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    bobbknight, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 6:17pm


    Does this mean that the frs software will allow other than dirty old men to buy young school girl panties from those machines.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 6:18pm

    This is funny.
    Typical rush to market overlooking the obvious.
    Are these machines made by the same folks who brought us electronic voting machines ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    SomeoneElse, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 7:43pm

    The REAL reason that Minors cannot smoke (or drink)

    @ #1 and #2, the real reason (at least here in the states -- not sure if it is the same in Japan, but I think so) has to do with the concept of consent. Basically a person under a certain age is not considered old enough to give their informed consent in certain matters (sex, alcohol, cigarettes). Which is silly because I know people in their 50's that aren't mature enough to consent to anything (in my opinion), and I know people in their early teens that are mature enough to make extremely difficult adult decisions carefully (probably do better than I do at 32)!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 7:57pm

    Of course they were tested

    Of course these machines were tested. They were tested to the highest standards of the industry, using the same techniques that are used by the voting machine industry to verify that their systems are not vulnerable to manipulation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Nightmare, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 8:00pm

    no depth of field perception?

    You would figure the software would be designed to recognize that the image in front of the camera is a 2D one. I don't see why it couldn't detect unnatural reflections, inconsistencies in the depth of field in the image, and other things like that.

    In Japan the legal age for smoking is apparently 20 by the way. As far as what I can tell about the law in the US, the age is 18 because that is legally considered an adult. Since cigarettes are bad for your health and can eventually lead to death, for a minor to smoke could be considered child endangerment. Going by that point, I still don't understand why the minimum age for military enlistment is 17.
    I just noticed that this was the first comment on the original story back in 2007:
    "by Brian on Nov 6th, 2007 @ 2:57am

    Anyone with a brain can just hold up a photo in front of the vending machine?"

    Apparently people saw this coming as soon as it was announced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Loweded Wookie, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 8:27pm

    Re: sorry

    Can you please explain why it's wrong? I mean you say it is but you do not back it up therefore how can we trust what you say? For all we know you could be wrong. Actually what #2 says makes a lot of sense so until you can prove otherwise instead of "You're wrong" then I'm siding with something that at least makes a bit of sense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 10:36pm

    Re: no depth of field perception?

    The minimum age of 17 is with parent consent. I would assume this would allow newly graduated high schoolers to enlist. Many would find this advantageous in that it provides a sense of direction. In addition, military service can pay for a future college education.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    wasnt me, Jul 2nd, 2008 @ 1:46am

    fact is cigarets do more harm to "children /kids" than they do to adults.

    IMHO the reason why its ok for adults and not for younger ppl to smoke / buy cigarettes it is because adults are supposed to have better judgment that the younger ppl.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    ABC, Jul 2nd, 2008 @ 3:34am

    Re: Re: sorry

    Whether what #2 said is true or not, it's likely not the reason for age limits. Most laws that discriminate between minors and adults do so for the following:

    An adult is supposed to be in a position to make an informed decision, a child is not.

    I'm not going to argue at what age that limit should be set, but it seems fairly reasonable to have some limit. Most adults know smoking is bad and will do serious harm to them and those around them. An 8 year old probably won't know.

    PS. As #2 is posting his theory, he should provide backup to prove it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Ralph, Jul 2nd, 2008 @ 7:29am


    Exactly what I was thinking.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Jason, Jul 2nd, 2008 @ 1:11pm

    Re: sorry

    Quick, someone alert the Surgeon General. Some old guy has spoken.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Hide this ad »
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Hide this ad »
Recent Stories
Advertisement - Amazon Prime Music
Hide this ad »


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.