Facial Age Estimation: How Facial Age Estimation Apps Work

Facial age estimation can be tricky as the human face is a complex structure with various non-uniform shapes and angles. The subtle differences in these characteristics, along with variations in lighting, hair, and beard, can complicate the task of accurately determining a person’s age based on their facial features alone.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s fair to say that artificial intelligence researchers have struggled with this challenge for some time now. In recent years, however, the field has seen an increase in recognition from the general public—primarily due to advancements in areas such as computer vision, natural language processing, and speech recognition. These new AI technologies have helped advance facial age estimation technology from something that was only marginally useful to something that is now entirely accurate.

As industry expert Yoti.com explains, facial age estimation apps work in various ways:

Determining Chronological Age

Facial age estimation technology utilizes artificial intelligence to examine a person’s facial structure to determine the difference between their current and chronological age. This technique relies on understanding the human face, which involves understanding how the forms change throughout our lives. For example, as we age, our eyes become more set in their sockets, and our jawline becomes less prominent. These subtle changes are used to calculate chronological age based on facial characteristics alone.

Determining Biological Age

Facial age estimation apps can also estimate a person’s biological age. These apps utilize artificial intelligence to determine how a person’s skin tone, hair color, and other features may change based on their genetic makeup. The app can estimate a person’s biological age by using these factors alongside information about a person’s lifestyle (such as smoking habits). Some apps are designed specifically for people who are concerned about aging (such as those who have concerns about aging or want to know if they should begin taking anti-aging supplements). Others are designed for people who want to see how they may look in 10 or 20 years (for example, if one is thinking of getting married).

Deciding on Patient Treatments

For example, if a patient has a wrinkled forehead, which is a sign of ageing, the doctor could find out the patient’s age to see if they fall within the recommended range for that treatment. Our skin also loses elasticity as we age, which can be accurately detected with facial analysis software.
Facial analysis software can detect signs of certain illnesses, such as Parkinson’s disease.
It can be used to determine the patient’s age and gender to give the doctor more information about the patient for them to look younger—including things like Botox injections or plastic surgery procedures that might be considered for older patients with wrinkles or sagging skin. Moreover, dermatologists can use this technology to help patients determine their risk for skin cancer.

Classifying Age by Race

For a person to be able to estimate their chronological age accurately, they must have an understanding of the differences between people’s faces based on race. This is because a person’s skin tone and eye color will change throughout our lifetimes depending on our ethnicity. For example, white people tend to have lighter skin tones than black people and Asian people. People with darker skin tones may also experience changes in their eye color over time due to their genetic makeup.

Facial Age Estimation Apps Can Be Used by Law Enforcement

Facial recognition software has already been used by law enforcement in several countries worldwide. For example, the FBI has used face recognition software in the United States since at least 2002. And since 2013, law enforcement in China has used facial recognition software to identify people who have been arrested or detained. This technology is beneficial when it comes to identifying people wanted for crimes who are involved in criminal organizations. Organized crime and terrorist groups—and those who have escaped prison and are living on the run since they often have very distinctive features estimation is a relatively new technique still being researched.

Facial Age Estimation Final Thoughts

Many challenges still need to be addressed before facial age estimation can be widespread. In the future, facial age estimation apps may be used by people to determine their chronological age. Scientists and engineers are designing these apps to help people accurately decide their biological age.

Amanda Kremer