Biometric Devices: Ear Scanning, An Alternative in Airport Security
We write an awful lot about biometrics here at Eye Tracking Update. Eye tracking has become widely incorporated with other technology and there is a lot of cross-pollination between eye and head tracking, and retina and iris scans, among other scanning technologies. Biometric scans are becoming the norm, and hearing about a new proposal to scan all the citizens of a town, install iris recognition technology at border cities, or install biometric chips into passports, isn’t uncommon anymore.
The Telegraph recently published a story on ear scanning, which investigators have been hard at work to create for the security industry in particular. Each individual ear has its own shape and a unique look – something fundamental in determining whether a certain body part is eligible for biometrics. Investigators hope to collect images of enough ears that they will have a database of ear shapes by which to compare newly acquired scans to.
Their hope is that a system could be used to simultaneously photograph and scan a person’s ear as they pass through a passport control line for example.
Professor Mark Nixon of the University of Southampton was interviewed for the article, and he says there are plenty of structures within the ear anatomy that can be used to get measurements from an individual.
The article goes on to say that sometimes biometrics can have problems or be difficult to use. Facial recognition software is sometimes confused by the expression of the subject, so people need to maintain a neutral look in order not to trip up the system. The United Kingdom passport service is testing facial recognition at London’s Standsted airport and has begun to experiment with retinal scans.
One ear scanning technique is based off a technology called “image ray transform” and highlights the tubular structures of the subject’s ear and takes measurements. Newer British passports have biometric chips installed and an image of the person’s ear could be easily added, they say.
Still, the Home Office has no plans for implementation of ear scanning just yet, though they are aware of the technology.
Ears provide new way of identifying people in airports
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