Prince George's future face predicted by scientists

Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:41am EST
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By Matthew Stock

Prince George may still only be a toddler but computer scientists say they can now offer a glimpse of how the third in line to the British throne will look in the coming years.

Their new software takes a number of specific facial features and combines it with visual cues from the parents and other relatives to create a detailed portrait of an individual's likely future appearance. The results are far more accurate than existing 'ageing' software, say the scientists from the University of Bradford.

The research, led by Hassan Ugail, the University's Professor of Visual Computing, explained that their algorithm can verify which traits the child may have inherited from the parents to build a more reliable forecast of their future face. He said that the software is 'trained' to be more accurate as further layers of data are added.

To demonstrate the system the team chose to predict what Prince George will look like over the coming years, up until the year 2073 when he'll celebrate his 60th birthday.

"We take specific facial features. Very simple things like nose length is quite unique for that person, so we look at nose length, the width of the nose, the distance between eyes. So these are facial features that the computer recognizes as the person. So we take these - roughly 30 to 40 facial features we take from the face - and we use these facial features; we map it into the machine and then we produce the age," Professor Ugail told Reuters.

"So what we've done in the case of George, we've taken his picture and then we've actually taken facial features and then aged him. We've also, in some experiments, what we've done is we've taken the parental information and then also applied the parental information and aged him as well."

The team also created portraits of Prince George's little sister, Princess Charlotte, ageing her from the age of two up until age 60.

Ugail explained how the system assumes a 'natural age progression'; not taking into account the impact of factors like diet and environment. Nevertheless, he believes that the program's facial predictions offer an accuracy of around eighty per cent.   Continued...