App Allows Users to Search for Pet Look-Alikes

August 18, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. departed /dɪˈpɑr tɪd/ (adj.) – referring to a dead person or an animal
Example: The family could not find any other pet to replace their departed dog.

2. breed /brid/  (n.) – a species of animals or plants that have distinctive appearance
Example: The smallest breed of cats can fit the palm of a human hand.

3. image recognition /ˈɪm ɪdʒ/ /ˌrɛk əgˈnɪʃ ən/ (n.) – a type of technology that identifies a particular shape or detail in an image; mostly used in handheld gadgets such as cameras and smartphones
Example: The inventor is known for designing hi-tech eyeglasses with image recognition features.

4. adopt /əˈdɒpt/ (v.) – to take and nurture a person or an animal as one’s own
Example: The old lady next door has adopted a lot of cats over the years.

5. identical /aɪˈdɛntɪkəl, ɪˈdɛn-/ (adj.) – the same or very similar
ExampleIdentical twins look exactly the same.


Read the text below.
Animal lovers can now search for a look-alike of their departed pet using an app called PetMatch.

The app allows users to find their ideal pet by simply taking a photo. It can be an image of a beloved cat that died, a dog that they saw in the park, or a particular breed of animal that they like. Once the image is uploaded into the app, PetMatch will provide a list of pets that look similar to that of the photo.

Superfish, a technology company based in California, created PetMatch. Superfish is known for creating apps that use image search algorithms.

Through an image recognition system, PetMatch scans the photo of the pet to determine the measurements of its facial features. These features include the shape of the face, the alignment of the eyes, the position of the mouth, and the animal’s color. The app also has a gallery of sample images, which users can browse in place of uploading a photo.

By using the given data, the app builds a list of pets that are identical to the photo. Users can click on the selections to find out more about the pets. PetMatch only shows pets that can be adopted or are near the user’s location. 

At present, PetMatch is limited only to cats and dogs. Also, the app can only work within certain areas in the United States. It is yet to be announced if the app will be expanded to other regions and countries.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you use this app to find a replacement for a departed pet? Why or why not?
·         What do you think can be the advantages of using this app? Kindly discuss your answer.

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, in what other situations can this type of technology be useful?
·         If you were to create an app that uses an image recognition system, what would that app be? Kindly discuss briefly.

August 18, 2014