Facial Age Synthesis Using Sparse Partial Least Squares (The Case of Ben Needham)

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Automatic facial age progression (AFAP) has been an active area of research in recent years. This is due to its numerous applications which include searching for missing. This study presents a new method of AFAP. Here, we use an active appearance model (AAM) to extract facial features from available images. An aging function is then modelled using sparse partial least squares regression (sPLS). Thereafter, the aging function is used to render new faces at different ages. To test the accuracy of our algorithm, extensive evaluation is conducted using a database of 500 face images with known ages. Furthermore, the algorithm is used to progress Ben Needham's facial image that was taken when he was 21 months old to the ages of 6, 14, and 22 years. The algorithm presented in this study could potentially be used to enhance the search for missing people worldwide.

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