A few years ago, facial recognition technology seemed like the stuff of the future, some nifty application you'd see only on the big screen. Now, we're using it in real life, to unlock our phones, to hustle through the passport queue at the airport and even to order our morning latte.
That's right — cafes across the country are getting high-tech, implementing facial recognition systems in an effort to improve customer service. And the one system that's being used by most was developed right here in our own backyard.
Geoff Cropley, owner of Sydney's Bahista Cafe, told the Sydney Morning Heraldhe spent two years working with developer John MacLean to create his own system prototype, NoahFace, which he first started using on customers in July 2016.
"I searched the world for a low-cost face recognition [system] and there was nothing out there, all the solutions were multimillion-dollar ones," he explained. "So I went about creating what we have today."
Willing customers simply have their face scanned by an iPad as they approach the front counter, with information, including their name and go-to coffee order, then instantly relayed to the barista.
NoahFace is now in use across the country, having raised more than $1 million in seed funding, not to mention the backing of big names like Toby's Estate founder Toby Smith. Currently, you'll spy it operating at venues like Sydney's Bar Bellaccino, Adelaide's Hotel Richmond and a whole swag of Toby's Estate cafes — and, it'll spy you too.