Twin Detection Using AI
Written by Janet Swift   
Saturday, 06 June 2015

Have you ever seen another face that looks so much like your own that you think you could be taken for twins? See if Microsoft's new Twins Or Not site agrees with you.

Like the previous How Old Do I Look site that launched at Build and became a runaway success, the new site was created to showcase Microsoft's Machine learning. Both sites work invite the user to upload photos and use the Face API in Project Oxford to look for salient facial features.

In a post on his blog Mat Velloso reveals that it took him just four hours in his hotel room in Prague during the Build Tour to put together Twins or Not with the following five steps that would be easy to copy or modify:

1. Sign up to Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure.

2. Obtain an API key for the Face API, which is a subset of Micrrosoft's Machine Learning APIs focused on facial recognition.

3. Download the Face API SDK in .Net, which already has a sample that does almost exactly what is required.

4. Adapt the code into an ASP.Net MVC website. 

5. Publish the site to Azure


The result is very usable although, unlike, it doesn't provide any sample photos. So first trawl through your own collection or search online for a pair of photos that you want to compare.

We relied on Wikipedia to discover some famous twins and upload pictures of two sets - musicians Robin and Maurice Gibbs of the Bee Gees and the Winklevoss twins, also referred to as the Winklevi, who are American rowers and more famous in developer circles for suing Mark Zuckerberg for stealing their ConnectU idea to create Facebook.

With four photos you can make six comparisons so we set out to mix and match these two sets of twins with the following results:





Robin Gibb 48 36 23
Maurice Gibb 48 0 0
Cameron Winklevoss 36 0 100
Tyler Winklevoss 23 0 100




The twin score between  Robin (on the right) and Maurice Gibb was 48% - and yes they don't look all that alike.

Testing with Robin Gibb and Tyler Winkevoss produced a score of 23% but the resemblance between Robin and Cameron was higer at 36%.

It seems there's nothing in common between Maurice Gibb and either Winklevoss with the result:



At the other end of the scale there is a no dopubt at all that the Winklevi are twins!



Yes, Cameron (on the left) and Tyler are so alike that in my social situations if you saw just one of them you might struggle to decide which one!

Twins that are are monozygotic twins, i.e. originating from a single egg/sperm fertilisation, and thus have identical DNA tend to look alike. On the other hand dizygotic twins shared a womb but developed from two different eggs, each are fertilized by separate sperm and tend to look a bit more different. That is not all twins are "identical twins".

Like its twin website on age detection, this one has the potential for a lot of fun and has quickly become viral. One of the reasons for its creation appears to be to discover how Azure copes with such success and in another blog post Velloso looks at enabling  Azure Application Insights to monitor traffic and provide analytics - so be aware that you are being tracked when you visit, which of course is nothing new or different from what happens when you visit most websites.

If you don't like being monitored, and as we pointed out when first appeared, while these sites don't keep your photos they do keep the metadata which contain a lot of information if you know how to harvest it.







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