Groundbreaking computer coding skills are drawing the world's attention to young Irish programmers.
At a time when the wider Irish economy is floundering, two innovative teenagers from a Northside Dublin school have created a remarkable new facial recognition system which allows website owners to log visitors in to their websites without having to remember a password.
That kind of technology, if eventually adopted by internet leaders like Google, Twitter and Facebook, could spell the end of the typed password.
17-year-old students, Niall Paterson and Sam Caulfield, who are studying for their Leaving Certificate (graduate diploma) this year, explained that the new technology works by taking a picture of your face and then instantly analyzing it against a database of registered users.
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Since every human face is as unique as a fingerprint the results are foolproof. Having tested the application already, the software has now been made available for free to website administrators.
Speaking with Siliconrepublic.com, Paterson said that the system is designed to be impossible to crack.
'The complexity of one's face means it is difficult to take the perfect picture of a person and variants like background, shadow, hair don't even come into consideration with this system. The software is designed to identify a person by the unique characteristics of their face.'
'A Facebook password can be up to 22 characters long. We were frustrated with this and decided faces would work better.'
'The website has just gone live this week. The problem is we're only 17 and we're not really in touch with the business world yet. We do definitely think people will be interested in this,' Niall said.
'You might laugh when I say this, but the book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has a hero who is a programmer and I got into it that way," Paterson added. 'Most teens in Dublin who are coding all got into it in a similar way, one little thing triggers it and we get going.'
The lack of a structured computer science curriculum in Irish schools is a real shame, Paterson added.
'The syllabus in schools is shocking, a big opportunity is being missed. Computer science and programming is something young people today appreciate and want to get into, they don't think it's about nerds or geeks.'