Researchers studying the level of detail in modern digital photographs were able to pick out the tiny reflections of faces hidden in the eyes of the subject and accurately identify them.
Working with Christie Kerr, of the School of Psychology, University of Glasgow, Rob Jenkins of the University of York recovered the images of bystanders that were as small as 27 pixels across (1 megapixel is about a million pixels), said Fox News. Yet when presented to panelists in a face-matching task, observers were able to match the diminutive faces 71 percent of the time. When the faces were familiar ones, people recognized identity correctly 84 percent of the time, it said.
"Our findings thus highlight the remarkable robustness of human face recognition, as well as the untapped potential of high-resolution photography,” Jenkins said.
The pictures were taken with a high-end, 39-megapixel Hasselblad camera, snapped while the onlookers were close to the subject and the room well lit, said Fox News. But with smartphones that pack increasingly better digital sensors, even ordinary photos may soon capture a similar level of detail.
The researchers say that in crimes in which the victims are photographed, such as hostage taking or child sex abuse, reflections in the eyes of the photographic subject could help to identify perpetrators, said Fox News.
Images of people retrieved from cameras seized as evidence during criminal investigations may be used to piece together networks of associates or to link individuals to particular locations, said Fox News.