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Entrepreneur’s firm creates facial recognition program for consumers


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It didn’t take David Gasper long to recognize the potential in facial recognition software.

Spotting — and seizing — opportunity is part of being an entrepreneur on the ever-shifting information technology landscape, after all.  “I refer to myself as a serial software entrepreneur,” a smiling Gasper said.

As Gasper explains it, his wife, Theresa, found herself collecting photos for a family collage. She had to search among 7,000 digital photos — not counting film-based shots.

The task was enormous. That’s when inspiration struck for Gasper, president and owner of InitialPoint.

An early step was finding facial recognition tools used by government for security and military applications. Gasper looked at licensing and acquiring the technology and building his own, consumer-based application that runs on PC desktops.

PicsMatch finds faces through sample photos, Gasper said. Once the Windows-based tool has a sample face, it finds “matching” faces in other shots.

“Education” is the key to helping people understand what PicsMatch does, said Tony Blankemeyer, InitialPoint’s vice president of sales.

“Once you see it, you really catch on to it,” said Blankemeyer, 23, a recent marketing graduate of the University of Dayton.

Already, several scrapbooking magazines have given PicsMatch favorable reviews, Blankemeyer said. And the Facebook potential is enormous, he believes. Accordingly, InitialPoint is crafting a labeling tool for Facebook users.

“Facebook now is 150 million users,” Blankemeyer said. “People are uploading billions of photos online of their friends and family.”

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” Gasper said as he launches a demonstration.

He quickly finds shots of his daughter among 5,000 photos kept on his laptop computer. Then, he directs the tool to find photos of his daughter taken during the Christmas season. And he points the tool to find shots of himself with his daughter.

Along with scrapbookers, other possible users of the software include photographers, archivists and historians.

Gasper is not intimidated by the fact that Apple has recently unveiled a similar product.

“We are looking forward to taking on the big boys of Apple,” he said.

PicsMatch makes sense given Gasper’s background. Working on applications for consumers may be new for him, but not software creation.

A Dayton native, Gasper graduated from Wright State University in 1978 with a business degree, landing his first job for NCR writing software for automatic teller machines. He stepped away from NCR to work for a couple of other companies, including Mead, before starting Gasper Corp., in 1983 at age 27. He sold Gasper Corp. to NCR in 1999. Gasper continues to be an NCR brand, directing service for NCR ATMs.

“I do believe PicsMatch and similar ventures will be more of the future of Dayton,” Gasper said

Featured in Sun, Feb 1, 2009’s Dayton Daily News by Thomas Gnau

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One Response to “Entrepreneur’s firm creates facial recognition program for consumers”

  1. tg says:

    Consider this shameless promotion (I’m Mrs Gasper), but you’ve got to check out the YouTube videos local fim makers have been producing as part of a contest PicsMatch is running.

    http://www.youtube.com/picsmatch

    They are a riot! Oh, and the software is pretty cool too. Buy it and help create jobs locally!