New JavaScript library adds facial detection, 3D projection to Web apps

Tracking.js means Web developers won't need C, C++, or plug-ins for computer vision apps

The open source Tracking.js JavaScript library is bringing computer vision and augmented reality to Web development.

Tracking.js can work in mobile Web or desktop applications or be paired with Node.js on the server, says developer Eduardo Lundgren. It brings computer vision algorithms and techniques into the browser, and it enables functions like facial detection, camera-based tracking, and projecting of 3D models.

"When you want to do these kinds of interactions, it was very hard to do with the technologies that were available before in C or C++," says Lundgren, a software engineer at Liferay, which produces the Liferay Portal platform. To this end, Traking.js provides a Web component so developers can access components from HTML tags, without having to know JavaScript.

Tracking.js includes a color-tracking algorithm and an object tracker that enables Web applications to detect faces and eyes. By linking Tracking.js to the server via Node.js, an application could, for example, track faces and index information about those faces on a server database.

Tracking.js has been forked about 200 times, Lundgren said. It uses the HTML5 Canvas element and the getUserMedia API without requiring any third-party plug-ins. The library graduated to a 1.0 release stage in late July.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.