Vingroup develops masked facial recognition tech for smartphones in virus fight

VinAI Research, the artificial intelligence unit of Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup, has developed a facial recognition technology that is able to identify users wearing masks.

Vingroup said in a statement that it used deep learning with a capability to “simulate how the neural system works in the human brain in order to automatically extract valuable information on a part of the face, to identify even when users use a face mask”.

The AI unit is currently working with Vingroup’s smartphone maker VinSmart to apply this technology on its devices, making VinAI Research “one of the first to implement masked facial recognition in commercial products”.

In 2018, the Vietnamese juggernaut acquired a 51 per cent stake in Spanish consumer electronics devices maker BQ to widen its foray into the smartphone production market.

Vingroup said the latest facial recognition technology could be easily integrated into the existing camera systems in the country, as well as enterprises’ timekeeping and authentication systems.

It will donate the technology to the community to help curb the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it said. The company has previously committed 100 billion dong ($4.3 million) to help Vietnam fight the virus spread, including providing 5,000 non-invasive ventilators.

“Facemasks are an essential part of the disease prevention practices, but it may lessen the accuracy of face recognition by more than 50 per cent. Therefore, we have developed this technology to promptly meet social needs,” Dr. Bui Hai Hung, director of VinAI Research, said.

VinAI Research is a self-funded project that Vingroup launched in 2019 as the company repositioned itself from a major player in real estate and retail into an industrial and technology group.

Vingroup’s other tech initiatives include a big data research entity. Meanwhile, it has also ventured into car manufacturing.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.