In-Class Exercise:
Testing a Biometric Age Estimation System

Tools: Age Estimator, Google Doc, Excel Spreadsheet

In this exercise we will conduct an experiment using a biometric system found on the internet. Because many biometric systems are available on the internet other similar experiments can easily be designed.

This exercise uses Microsoft's Age Estimator that estimates a person's age from a photo. For reasonable statistical analysis the exercise works best for a class or group of at least 10 people, preferably 20-30 or more.

Before performing the exercise, we can discuss possible hypotheses and come to a consensus on a particular hypothesis to test. By choosing a hypothesis, we are basically using the hypothesis-testing experimental design. Several plausible hypotheses are mentioned here but we will go with the first one for this exercise. Possible hypotheses:

  1. For adult users, the age estimator tends to underestimate a person's age so they feel younger and good about themselves.
  2. For young people, the age estimator tends to overestimate a person's age so they think they look older and more important.
  3. For a group with a reasonable age distribution, the age estimation error increases as a person's age increases.

There are several ways to conduct the exercise -- we will use the first:

Student learning outcomes: