Cornell undergraduates Brian Harding and Cat Jubinski built a portable face recognition system for their capstone ECE 4760 project:


Our design consists of an Atmel ATmega644 8-bit microcontroller, a C3088 camera module with an OmniVision OV6620 CMOS image sensor, Atmel’s AT45DB321D Serial Dataflash, a Varitronix MDLS16264 LCD module for output, a 9-volt battery, and a small wooden structure for chin support.



The system is hooked up to a computer to train the pattern-recognition algorithm, but from then on it can enroll new users, delete old users, and recognize up to 20 enrolled users as a standalone system. Their very detailed report claims “an 88% successful login rate with no false positives” and includes testing data, schematics, source code, a priced parts list, and some ideas for improvement in the next prototype. [Thanks, Max!]


Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

  • David Shaddix

     cant this be defeated by just putting a photo of the user in front of the camera?

  • zedomax

     Thanks Sean!

  • Roy Simonds

     Will it recognize a photo of the user?

  • Roy Simonds

    Or rather, will it successfully recognize a photo of a user? If the application isn’t for security, this is a huge success.If it’s security you’re after, you might want to spend more than $30.

  • daniel mcclain

     mix it with kinect to get 3d data.