In-Class Exercise:
Evaluating a Biometric Age Estimation System
Using Scientific Method and Hypothesis Testing

Tools: Age Estimator and prepared 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, the following should be discussed:

Possible hypotheses: Now, discuss possible hypotheses related to the age estimator and come to a consensus on a particular hypothesis to test. Several plausible hypotheses are mentioned here but we will go with the first one for this exercise.

  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, like your high school students, the age estimator tends to overestimate a person's age so they see themselves as older, more mature, and important.
  3. For a group with a reasonable age distribution, the age estimation error increases as a person's age increases.

This exercise consists of steps typical used by the scientific method:

  1. Collecting data: the data required for this exercise consists of the actual and machine estimated ages of all the participants (the students in the classroom or, in this case, the workshop participants).
  2. Performing an analysis of the data: the data are entered into a prepared spreadsheet that automatically performs an analysis of the data.
  3. Determining whether or not the hypothesis is confirmed:

Key ingredient of exercise:

Student learning outcomes: