Mr. Anderton, Beware This Long-Range Iris Scanner

A new iris scanning technology has been developed at Carnegie Melon’s Biometrics Center; the new device can identify a human from 40 feet away just by scanning the person’s irises.

Standard iris scanning technology requires that users stop and put their eyes to a special device. This makes covert sampling much more difficult.


(Iris scanning at CMU)

Most iris based biometric systems require a lot of co- operation from the users so that iris images of acceptable quality may be acquired. Features from these may then be used for recognition purposes. Relatively fewer works in literature address the question of less cooperative iris acquisition systems in order to reduce constraints on users. In this paper, we describe our ongoing work in designing and developing such a system. It is capable of capturing images of the iris up to distances of 8 meters with a resolution of 200 pixels across the diameter. If the resolution requirement is decreased to 150 pixels, then the same system may be used to capture images from up to 12 meters.

We have incorporated velocity estimation and focus tracking modules so that images may be acquired from subjects on the move as well. We describe the various components that make up the system, including the lenses used, the imaging sensor, our auto-focus function and velocity estimation module. All the hardware components are Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) with little or no modifications. We also present preliminary iris acquisition results using our system for both stationary and mobile subjects.

Sci-fi buffs are familiar with what this kind of technology feels like to the ordinary user in a shopping mall; Steven Spielberg brought iris scanning to life in his 2002 movie version of Philip K. Dick's Minority Report.


(Minority Report iris scanner video)

Via CMU Biometrics Center.

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Index of related articles:

Biometric security overview
Biometrics Glossary
Characteristics of successful biometric identification methods
Biometric identification systems
Biometric technology on the leading edge
Biometric identification - advantages
Biometric security and business ethics
Biometric authentication: what method works best?
Iris Recognition
Iris Scan

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