human eyes created with many small facesSoftware



So you are looking for face detection software. You hit the right place!
There are basically two approaches. The classical one is to get some code (source or compiled as a library) and use it within your own application. A list of source codes, libraries, Software Development Kits, is listed below. The second emerging approach is to use the power of the Internet, and call web or cloud services. Let's start with the most modern concept:


By using web services, the client software does not need to bother about libraries or platform dependencies, it simply calls a web server, sends the images to process, and gets back the results. As long as real-time feedback is not an issue, this is an interesting new approach.

  • BioID Web Service
    Service for identifying persons by face and/or voice. Finds faces and sends back standardized face portraits. All methods can be tried with file upload or live webcam recording through the site's integrated Silverlight control. Needs anonymous registration and is free for single users.
  • Betaface Web API
    Service for face and facial features finding and recognition. Web API including demos, documentation and samples of usage. Free for evaluation or education purposes as well as non-commercial projects.
  • Lambda Labs Face Recognition API
    Service for identifying persons by faces. The API provides face recognition, facial detection, eye position, nose position, mouth position, and gender classification. Needs registration.
  • Face++
    Face++ uses technologies of computer vision and data mining to provide 3 core vision services (Detection, Recognition, and Analysis). Free. Needs


The bad thing about the internet nowadays is, that you will not find much source code around anymore. Nevertheless, here is a (hopefully growing) list of what's available for free...

  • Facial landmark detector
    "flandmark" is an open source C library (with interface to MATLAB) implementing a facial landmark detector in static images. From the Center of Machine Perception, Czech Technical University, Prague.
  • Semantic Vision Technologies
    Face and facial features detection libraries for MS Windows. Free for non-commercial use! From Jacek Naruniec, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland.
  • Face Detection using Support Vector Machine (SVM)
    Includes both datasets and code for face detection using Support Vector Machines.
  • Rank Deficient Faces
    Face detection demo with library for MS Windows platforms.
  • Visage
    Visage is a human computer interface that aims to replace the traditional mouse with the face.
  • Face Tracking DLL from Carnegie Mellon  
    The Advanced Multimedia Processing Lab (AMP) offers face tracking using color matching combined with deformable templates. Both DLL for Windows and static library for Linux.
  • Real-time face detection program from FhG-IIS Fraunhofer IIS
    Demo from the Fraunhofer Institute IIS, Germany. Shows face tracking and detection using edge orientation matching. Fast multi-face finding capabilities. Executable only.
  • Evaluation of Face Recognition Algorithms 
    Resource for all researchers developing face recognition algorithms from Colorado State University. It provides a standard set of well known algorithms and established experimental protocols. Includes C source code for face recognition using PCA (Eigenfaces) and Gabor Wavelets!
  • OpenCV - Intel's Open Source Computer Vision initiative Intel OpenCV
    Now this is really interesting: Intel initiates an open source community for computer vision. C++ source code for face recognition, motion tracking, and many others. There's also a mailing list for contributors. Highly recommended! With source code.
    Visit OpenCV at Sourceforge
    Visit OpenCV forum at Yahoo 
  • Computer Vision Source Code ComputerVision
    Not really about face detection, but nevertheless a very useful collection of image processing code you might need when working in this area. With source code.



(as of Mar-17-2013)

There is a growing number of face recognition vendors around who offer SDKs (Software Development Kits) for integrating their technology into own applications. Most of them offer the face finding part as an interface. Nevertheless, it might be hard to get such an SDK without payment... (in alphabetical order:)

Company SDK Online Documentation Technology


Acsys FRS SDK   HNet (Holographic/Quantum Neural Technology)


Betaface Face Detection and Recognition SDK  


FaceVACS SDK Neural Nets (I assume)


KeyLemon OASIS  


FaceIT SDK   Detection: Pattern Matching

Recognition: "Local Feature Analysis"



FaceSDK FaceSDK Documentation  


VeriLook SDK    


Beyond Reality Face SDK  
Third Sight


InSight SDK  
Visage Technologies AB


visage|SDK   Detection: Active Appearance Models

Tracking: Template Matching + Kalman Filter


The Face Detection Homepage. By Robert W. Frischholz