How We Can Track Whether People Are Wearing a Mask or Not


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How We Can Track Whether People Are Wearing a Mask or Not

Whats the Problem? 

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. 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. 

The Solution 

Its difficult to keep track of so many people and making sure that each one is following proper safety precautions. One solution that is currently being developed and tested is using artificial intelligence to identify whether people are wearing a mask or not. 

This 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 a mask 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 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.  

This technical endeavor is more reliable compared to having real people watch to see if people are wearing masks. This is because, when programmed correctly, a system can be much more accurate than humans. Humans are susceptible to distractions and fatigue, while a software program never tires and will be able to accurately identify the mask situation of each and every individual. 

Where This Can be Used 

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 them safe. Some locations that would benefit from this type of technology are offices, hospitals, airports, retail stores, grocery stores, restaurants, etc.. 

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 airport, 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.