What’s life without a bit of fun. Microsoft has been acting pretty serious lately, with the Build 2015 keynote focusing on stuff like porting iOS apps to Windows 10. So, it is refreshing to see that the company has maintained its tradition of some lighthearted innovation. Just yesterday, the folks over at the Machine Learning section of MS launched a beta web service named HowOldRobot. It is basically an age detector, aimed at letting users estimate the age of any person in a photo. The app has the ability to display any human photo’s gender and age. Of course, the HowOldRobot might lead to bigger things in the future, but even right now it is fun to use and might even help you decide which photo to share with your friends, and which one to delete quietly.
HowOldRobot is not the first app of its kind. Face detection has been around for a long time in smartphone cameras, while a lot of apps focus on age as well (letting you look younger in pictures). Having said that, the idea of an age detector hasn’t lost its novelty yet, which is why the new web service has already going viral.
Using HowOldRobot is easy. It has two modes; you can either search for photos using Bing and apply age detection on them, or there is the option of uploading your own pictures for analysis. If you are looking to subject your personal photos to the age detector, you can either upload one from your device’s gallery or snap a new one in real-time. These options are specially convenient on handheld devices.
Once your photo has been captured or uploaded, HowOldRobot only takes a few seconds to detect your face and come back the estimated age and gender. Gender detection is very accurate in our experience, while the age detector part can be a bit erratic. Overall though, the results are rarely unrealistic and even if they are, you will have a good laugh.
The second mode of the service lets you search for any picture online. The detection procedure works just like it does on uploaded photos, though we did notice that the age detector has better accuracy on searched photos. Another shortcoming of the service is that it usually fails to detect faces in photos that use filters or image effects.
HowOldRobot can be used both from mobile and desktop web browsers, and it doesn’t cost you anything to use it. The only limit is that you cannot post photos that are more than 3MB in size. So, head to the website and have fun!