Lost A Pet? Computer Vision App Helps You Find Another One Just Like It

PetMatch matches pictures you give it with a database of nearby adoptable animals.

PetMatch
Superfish on iTunes

There are so many things computer vision can do. It can help cars recognize bikers and brake before they hit them. It can scan security footage to look for a particular person's face. And now, it can help you find a pet that looks like your long-dead childhood dog, that Persian of your neighbor's that you covet, or your favorite Internet celebrity animal.

PetMatch is an iPhone app that uses computer vision algorithms to analyze a picture you give it. Then it matches the photo to photos of nearby adoptable pets on PetFinder, a popular online pet-adoption database. TechCrunch describes what qualities PetMatch, made by a California-based startup called Superfish, looks for:

Superfish . . . does a geometric analysis of the image using its machine vision technology to look at the distance between the animal’s eyes, the angle of its mouth, and the shape of its face as a whole.

Let's not even think about what this could mean for negligent pet-sitters.

Superfish also has an app that lets people take pictures of products and find similar ones for sale online. In general, the company is dedicated to making it possible to search for images by their visual characteristics, instead of via text tags, according to the website. So PetMatch sounds like a natural extension of the research Superfish does—just one that perhaps nobody ever thought of before.