Similar to the current facial recognition technology, the technology for monkey can extract the facial feature information of the monkey to establish the identity database of the individual monkey in Qinling Mountains, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
A research team from China’s Northwest University is using artificial intelligence (AI) and other new technologies to develop a facial recognition technology for monkey to identify thousands of Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkeys in the Qinling Mountain in Shaanxi Province. The technology is still in the experimental stage and is currently able to recognize about 200 golden monkeys.
“When monkey facial recognition technology is fully developed, we can integrate the technology into an infrared camera sets in the mountains. The system will automatically recognize the monkeys, name them and analyze their behavior. We take 700 to 800 photos of each monkey, for the recognition rate to reach 94 percent,” said Zhang He, a member of the research team.
After being fully developed, the system can be embedded in infrared cameras set in the wild, and automatically spot monkeys, name them and record their behavior.
A sticking point of monkey facial recognition is that the animal is hairier than humans with subtle facial feature differences, thus requiring the system to have a higher deep learning ability.
“We need more high-resolution images to improve the recognition rate,” said team leader Li Baoguo.
“The wild environment is complicated, and golden monkeys do not cooperate with the process in the same way humans do. It is difficult to capture high-quality pictures and videos, which are essential to improve the recognition rate. Our goal is to successfully identify every monkey captured in the camera”
The new technology will significantly facilitate the study of the rare species when it matures, as traditionally, it would take scientists one to two years to conduct in-depth behavioral analysis for a specific colony of these monkeys.
“If the monkey facial recognition technology is adopted, early studies of the species, including location, identification and the observation of behaviors, will be greatly shortened, thus improving research efficiency,” said Li.
The Qinling Mountains house about 4,000 golden snub-nosed monkeys, a typical arboreal animal living all year round in the forests at an altitude of 1,500 to 3,300 meters.
The mountains also house a huge variety of plants and wild animals such as giant pandas and crested ibis.