New AI System will Help China to Identify People without Masks

Amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, many countries around the world have advised people to wear face masks to prevent themselves from getting sick. A new AI system has been built that will help China to identify people not wearing masks.

The first instance of Covid-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China in late 2019. The new highly contagious Coronavirus transmits through close contact between humans. The virus can spread when someone coughs or sneezes. In view of these facts, China has made it mandatory for its people to put on masks in certain regions. People are required to wear face masks when going out on the streets, using public transportation, or to crowded public places like restaurants, malls etc.
Although, Chinese government is putting lot of efforts to curb the spread of virus, but it is difficult for the authorities to catch people not wearing mask in public places. This is a big challenge especially with a population as large as China. Now, that’s where Artificial Intelligence comes in. While, authorities in China are taking drastic measures for preventing the virus from spreading, the country’s tech companies are trying in this direction.


The Face Scanning System

Baidu, a search giant from China, has worked to help government to control the spread of the virus. The company has developed an open-source Artificial Intelligence tool to detect individuals in crowds who are not wearing face masks. This is done to protect people in public places to get affected by virus. Their AI system can identify people walking in public without face masks on. The company claims that its model has been trained on more than 100,000 images.
According to Baidu’s, the Artificial Intelligence based face-scanning system, in real-time, can identify people who are not wearing masks or are wearing them incorrectly. The system can identify non-masked people from a group with upto 96.5% accuracy, which is quite close to manual inspection and monitoring.


Need of the System

Face masks have become a necessity in China. People in the country are trying to isolate themselves from public places. Most of them have chosen to stay in their homes. Companies have started adopting work-from-home policies to limit the spread of the disease. As claimed by Baidu, the first of its kind tool, can help organizations to keep a check on their employees for wearing masks. This can even assist authorities in identifying non-mask wearers in crowds at public places.

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