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Furry Facial Recognition Finds Lost Pets

Anyone who's lived with a cat or a dog can tell you that their face would be unmistakable to them in a crowd. John Polimeno, realized this when he was sitting in a coffee shop and looking at all the lost pet posters. He also had a deeply personal memory of a lost black labrador that he spent days putting up posters about, with his children crying in the back seat of the car. All this, and two-plus years working with The University of Utah software development center, led to Finding Rover, the ultimate app for finding lost dogs. 

This continuously updated app allows you to photograph your dog so that its face can be analyzed for easy recognition in case it goes missing in the future. The app features an interactive map with lost-and-found posters and sends push notifications if a dog is lost or found within a five-mile radius.

The in-app camera feature is specially adapted for photographing dogs, with a button that makes a squealing puppy sound to get your pet to snap to attention for a front-on shot.

The facial recognition software zeroes in on more than 125 points around the face. Polimeno told the Star Tribune that the software is more than 98 percent accurate with dogs and 99 percent accurate with cats.

Partnerships with more than 91 local shelters around the United states and in Australia have allowed the app to make a difference at a faster rate than the typical "network effect"—a direct function of the number of people that have downloaded it. Humane societies send the app's team photos of animals that arrive every hour, making it possible to find your pet without ever doing any digital or physical legwork.

Thanks to the app, which is available for iOS, Android, and the Web, more than 620 dogs have been reunited with their owners as of this month. And if you're a cat lover, never fear: a version of the app for felines is expected next month.

Finding Rover

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