Artificial Intelligence and Mask Detection

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What is Artificial Intelligence? 

Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science that works on developing simulations of human intelligence in machines or computer systems. Ultimately, the goal of artificial intelligence is to replicate human intelligence so that machines can carry out tasks that require general human intelligence. AI works by taking in large amounts of data and teaching the machine to recognize patterns. This then enables the machine to be able to perform tasks such as learning, decision making, problem solving, and reasoning. 

There are three different types of artificial intelligence, narrow artificial intelligence, general artificial intelligence, and artificial super intelligence. 

Narrow artificial intelligence is the artificial intelligence that we have currently achieved. It operates under a set of conditions and limitations that allow it to appear as if it has human intelligence in some tasks. Some examples of narrow AI are voice and facial recognition, Apples Siri, or self-driving cars. 

General artificial intelligence is a computer system that is able to accurately replicate the intelligence of humans. The system is able to learn through performing tasks and apply the knowledge the system acquires to similar or more difficult tasks, much as a human would do. General AI has not yet been achieved. 

Artificial super intelligence is the idea that AI machines will eventually surpass human intelligence and ability. When this is achieved, machines will be better and faster at everything that humans are able to do. 

AI and Mask Detection 

Now that we have a solid understanding of what artificial intelligence is, lets take a look at how it is being used to improve our daily lives. 

COVID-19, also known as Corona Virus, has been spreading rapidly across the United States for months now. The only way to keep more people from becoming ill with it is to stop the spread of the virus from infecting more people. This is done by wearing masks, staying 6 feet away from one another, social distancing, and staying home if one is experiencing symptoms. It has been said that if everyone were to follow this safety protocol, the whole virus would be cleared out in approximately six weeks. However, people are having a hard time adhering to these precautions, which is keeping the virus around even longer. 

One solution that is currently being developed and tested is using artificial intelligence to identify whether people are wearing a mask or not. Its difficult keeping track of so many people and making sure that each one is following proper safety precautions. However an AI detection system would help to detect who is complying and who is not. 

The program works by identifying faces and placing them into different groups. The system has to be able to recognize faces that are wearing masks, faces that are not wearing masks, and faces that have masks, but are not wearing them correctly. Not wearing them correctly includes having the mask under the persons nose or at their chin. 

The system detects faces that are not wearing a mask or are not wearing a mask correctly by first detecting the faces of the people in the frame of the video. The system then uses biometrics to map the facial features that are in view. It narrows in on each face to see if it can detect a mouth, nose, cheeks, or chin on the face. When a mask is worn the right way, none of those features should be exposed. If any of these parts of the face are visible, this alerts the system that a mask is either not being worn or is not being worn correctly. 


One of the main ideas behind this AI system is having faces that the system recognizes. This enables the system to be able to send notifications to that particular individual, reminding them to wear their mask or to reposition it correctly on their face. This gives people a personal reminder, resultantly helping in the fight to eliminate the spread of the virus.  

For example, in an office, the registered people could be employees. If the employees are not properly complying with the safety precautions, a reminder could be sent to them to straighten out their mask. If a particular individual is a repeat offender, administration could be notified, and they could take appropriate action in order to ensure the health and safety of their other employees. 

Another example where this system could be used is in hospitals. The registered individuals could be the staff members and patients. Similarly, the system would keep track of who is properly following the safety guidelines, and who is not complying. Notifications could be sent to those who are not complying, and the appropriate administrators could be notified if it were to become an issue. 

As more and more business are opening back up, more people are starting to go back out into the world. This technology is going to be very useful for monitoring a variety of different everyday places in order to keep everyone safe. 

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