Face, iris gaining ground in authentication applications

The future of biometric modalities in consumer electronics (Help Net Security)

“ABI Research posits that as ASPs for iris modules drop, and the once timid face recognition is continuously honed with more sophisticated machine learning algorithms, they will both slowly start to eat away at fingerprint implementations.”

There’s a lot of good information in the linked article. Fingerprint technology is still the most ubiquitous biometric technology worldwide and it will be for some time. Biometrics will ultimately be an all-of-the-above industry where the application determines the biometric modality/modalities brought to bear.

Iris mobile NFC barcode ATM app

Citi tests ATMs that replace plastic cards with mobile phones, QR codes, NFC and iris scans (NFC World)

Customers using one of the new Irving ATMs download a mobile app and set up the transactions they wish to make when they reach the ATM on their mobile phone. They can then chose to have a QR code scanned by the ATM, tap their NFC phone against the ATM or have their iris scanned to authenticate themselves in order to complete the transaction they previously logged inside the mobile app.

This “grab bag” ID regime is interesting. Throw in Bluetooth, fingerprints, RFID and chip-on-card technology and the number of permutations of possible ID deployments goes up even higher. This is good news both for consumers and for business with ID management challenges.

Fujitsu: Iris biometrics for mobile devices

Iris Scanner Unlocks Smartphones Using Infrared LEDs (Electronic Design)

The growing number of smartphone thefts, both in the United States and abroad, has prompted manufacturers to incorporate more resilient security methods into their designs. Fujitsu Ltd., for instance, recently unveiled the Arrows NX F-04G smartphone, which uses infrared light-emitting diodes (IREDs) to support iris scanning authentication.

A suitable illumination source had been a major hurdle for iris biometrics on mobile devices. Fujitsu demonstrated a prototype mobile device using iris technology in March, 2015.

Fujitsu and NTT DoCoMo team up for mobile iris biometrics

NTT DoCoMo launches smartphone with iris unlock feature (PC World)

The Fujitsu prototype incorporated a high-speed, high-accuracy iris recognition algorithm developed by California-based Delta ID. Fujitsu said the error rate for the prototype is about one in 100,000.

Available in green, black and white, the Arrows NX F-04G is slated to be released at the end of this month in Japan for around ¥55,000 (US$460). There are no plans to sell it outside Japan.

I somehow missed the first mention of this collaboration in early March.

India: Iris to replace thumb print for pensioner verification in one district

‘Iris recognition system’ for pensions to be launched in Andhra Pradesh (Niti Central)

A biometric ‘Iris identification system’ for distribution of pension will be soon launched in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh.

At present, the pensions are being paid by taking a thumb impression of the pensioners, Krishna District Collector A Babu said in an official release. However, sometimes the illegible thumb impressions create problems, he said.

This is perhaps the first time I’ve seen one biometric modality displace another one in an existing ID management application.

The performance expectations for iris must be substantially higher than what the existing fingerprint system is producing because it looks like there will have to be a new enrollment process for pensioners in the 100 political villages and municipal wards undertaking the change.

Layering of eye technology for better performance

Computer scientist sees new possibilities for ocular biometrics (Phys.org)

[Oleg Komogortsev and a team at Texas State University] are developing a three-layered, multi-biometric approach that tracks the movement of the eye globe and its muscles, and monitors how and where a person’s brain focuses visual attention, in addition to scanning patterns in the iris. The iris is the colored part of the eye.

Somaliland testing iris for electoral biometrics

Iris register to eyedentify voting fraud in Somaliland (New Scientist)

THE eyes have it. Somaliland’s election commission is trialling an iris-based biometric system that it hopes will put an end to duplicate registrations. This would make it one of the most advanced voter registration systems on the planet.

Per the CIA world factbook

In May 1991, northern clans declared an independent Republic of Somaliland that now includes the administrative regions of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sanaag, and Sool. Although not recognized by any government, this entity has maintained a stable existence and continues efforts to establish a constitutional democracy, including holding municipal, parliamentary, and presidential elections.

Intel Capital invests in iris biometrics via Delta ID Inc.

Delta ID Inc. raises $5M from Intel Capital and others to bring iris recognition to mass market (Press Release)

“We believe biometrics technology will increasingly become a part of how people interact with personal computing and mobile devices, enabling safer, more secure, and convenient user authentication,” said Erik Reid, vice president of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group and general manager of its Tablet Business Unit. “Working with biometric companies such as Delta ID is a key part of Intel’s initiatives to eliminate the hassle of passwords. Intel Capital’s investment will help accelerate the adoption of iris recognition by the ecosystem of device manufacturers, service providers and users.”

No. Iris? Perhaps.

Does Samsung Have a Retina Scanning Smartphone Coming? (TechnoBuffalo)

The iris (left), which gives people “eye color,” controls how much light enters the eyeball. The retina (right) is the structure laying along the inside, back surface of the eyeball that translates light into nervous impulses for the optic nerve to send to the brain.

In a camera analogy, the iris would be, well, the iris, since cameras have them, too. The retina would be the film, or in an even better digital analogy, the charge-coupled device (CCD) that translates light into ones and zeros for computer chips.

Mobile iris technology is much more straightforward than mobile retina technology and is far more likely to be coming soon to a smartphone near you.

What will it take for iris ID to catch on?

Readying Iris Recognition for Prime Time (Bank INfo Security)

Federal researchers have reconfirmed the reliability of the iris as an authentication factor. But we’re at least three years away from using iris scanning as an advanced method of user authentication for IT systems.

What’s holding back iris recognition as an authentication tool to access information on IT systems? Several experts I spoke with this week narrowed the reasons to three: size, cost and culture.

Stay tuned on all three. Size and cost are coming down. Culture is less predictable. Could ROI be a useful proxy? The article gets to this question eventually. Read the whole thing.

US: Iris and government ID

Who Are You? NIST Biometric Publication Provides Two New Ways to Tell Quickly (NIST)

A PIV card is a government-issued smart card used by federal employees and contractors to access government facilities and computer networks. The PIV card carries a photo, fingerprint information, personal identification number (PIN) and a cryptographic credential–random computer-generated data that are recognized only by the PIV card–all of which serve to bind the card to the card holder.

To assist agencies seeking stronger security and greater operational flexibility, NIST [ed. National Institute of Standards & Technology] made several modifications to the previous version of Biometric Data Specification for Personal Identity Verification. Major additions include:

On-card comparison of fingerprints for improved privacy. The specifications describe how to place one or two compact fingerprint templates and a recognition algorithm on the card. When the user wants to sign a document digitally or open a secure file, for example, she can place her finger on a reader attached to the keyboard to verify her identity. Currently, employees have to type in a PIN for matching, which is subject to error and misuse.

Iris recognition capability for increased security. Standardized compact images of one or both irises (the images are no more than 3 kilobytes each) can be loaded on the PIV card for compact on-card storage and fast reading times. The document provides performance specifications for iris biometrics to assure high accuracy and provides specifications for iris cameras to guide implementers on camera selection. These standards-based elements support interoperability within and across agencies using iris recognition technology.

Agencies may choose to add iris images as an alternate biometric over fingerprints, because, for some users, fingerprint collection can be difficult. At times, the fingerprints are too dry to yield a good image, and lotions, wounds or illness also can make for poor images. Agencies now have the option of using two biometric sources to avoid such circumstances.

Several recent NIST research projects have led to improved technologies for identity management that are included in the updated specification.

The full publication is available from NIST here.

See also: Iris ID tech is ready, but agencies might not be at Deep Dive Intel.

Good news for iris biometrics


Notice: Link goes to a 22 MB pdf…

IREX VI – Temporal Stability of Iris Recognition Accuracy (United States National Institute of Standards and Technology – NIST)

Using two large operational datasets, we find no evidence of a widespread iris ageing effect. Specifically, the population statistics (mean and variance) are constant over periods of up to nine years. This is consistent with the ability to enroll most individuals and see no degradation in overall recognition accuracy. Furthermore, we compute an ageing rate for how quickly recognition degrades with changes in the iris anatomy; this estimate suggests that iris recognition of average individuals will remain viable over decades.

There’s a whole lot of technical detail in the full report.

The executive summary continues on to say…

However, given the large population sizes, we identify a small percentage of individuals whose recognition scores do degrade consistent with disease or an ageing effect. These results are confined to adult populations. Additionally, we show that the template ageing reported in the Notre Dame studies is largely due to systematic dilation change over the collection period. Pupil dilation varies under environmental and several biological influences, with variations occuring on timescales ranging from below one second up to several decades. Our data suggests that the natural constriction of pupil size over decades does not necessitate re-enrollment of a well enrolled iris.

Liveness Detection – Iris Competition

Clarkson University researchers test latest iris recognition technology (North Country Now)

Clarkson’s Center of Identification Technology Research (CITeR), a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center, is co-hosting the Liveness Detection – Iris Competition this summer.

Clarkson, along with the University of Notre Dame and Warsaw University of Technology, have invited developers of iris recognition technology worldwide to submit their devices for the competition. The researchers will test the effectiveness of each device over the next couple of months and present their findings at a conference on biometrics this fall.

India: UID contains iris data, too.

All applications I’ve heard of are designed to access the UID (unique identification) biometric database have relied on fingerprints, until now.

If I’m reading this right, the state of Maharashtra (containing Mumbai & Pune) has some interest in exercising the iris end of the UID database and is preparing a pilot program to do it.

Aadhaar may soon try ‘authentic’ iris (DNA India)

UPDATE:
The linked headline may have things backwards, though.

Aadhaar is UID — a database of identity information including biometrics. Anyone can develop apps that tie in to the UID database, and I’m pretty sure that the organization that maintains the UID database, the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), has scrupulously avoided competing in the app market by inventing its own apps or developing apps for outside customers whether they are public entities like state governments as in the example linked above, or private entities like banks.

That is wise. In maintaining the world’s most ambitious ID repository, the UIDAI has plenty on its plate already and telegraphing to would-be app developers that they are going to be in competition with the guy that “owns” all the information would certainly hinder the app market.

So, Aadhaar is not going to “try” iris biometrics. It has already carved out a section of the database dedicated to iris biometrics. The news is that the iris part of the UID database is attracting the attention of end users and the second biggest state in India is taking the first steps toward integrating UID’s iris functionality into its operations.

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