China has proudly announced the world’s first facial recognition cash machines, which will only allow people to withdraw cash if their face matches the details stored on their card.

The ATMs use a camera above the screen to capture images of the person stood before it, then compares facial feature to those stored in a series of photographs held in a database. The parameters are biological—presumably attributes like distance between eyes, nose and mouth—so it should work even if other facial features, such as hair, change. It was developed in a collaboration between Tsinghua University and tech company Tzekwan, according to Xinhua news agency.

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While it’s currently unclear who will make the machines—and for that matter, how the initial data collection of images will work—Tzekwan claims that they will soon be made available commercially. Use of biometric data for these kinds of applications certainly adds a layer of security—but privacy advocates may question the associated privacy concerns. But whatever, it’s doubtful the U.S. has to worry just yet: it’s struggling to introduce chip-and-PIN at a respectable rate. [China.org via IB Times]

Image by Catatronic under Creative Commons license