Friday, March 28, 2008



Biometric-based identification systems and displays are used through out the world for identification, security and entertainment. As new improvements and engineering discoveries emerge there is and equal increase in the demand for these products. Everything from fingerprint recognition, iris/retina scanning, virtual retinal display [VRD] to facial recognition these are all in high demand in both private and commercial markets. Exploring the world around us there are needs (security) that must be met and biometric equipment are there to meet them.

Biometric is the process of automatically recognizing a person using distinguishing traits.3 Biometric technology has come a long way from simpler forms of systems security. But are biometrics-based systems more secure or do they simply require crackers to become more proficient at breaking into systems?2 As of right now we have passwords, pin numbers and signatures keeping our money, homes and jobs safe, and these forms of security are cheap and affective. But as industries grow, countries industrialize and people evolve there will always be a need for more security not necessarily better. Biometrics will most likely be better but expensive for the time being and this is the next step. Not to say that what we consider secure not secure but this is where it seems to be heading in the form of global security. For security purposes the private and government can both benefit from the outstanding discoveries in biometrics. Hand scanning is one of the grandfathers of biometric security. Still affective and in use it is cheap and able to be integrated anywhere. The geometric form of the hand is used to confirm a person's identity. The hand is not unique but specific characteristics of the hand such as the dimensions are. For a hand-scan to recognize a hand it must be placed on a reader's covered flat surface. This placement is positioned by five guides or pins that correctly situate the hand for the cameras.1 The technology uses a 32,000-pixel CCD digital camera to record the hands three- dimensional shape from silhouetted images projected within the scanner.1 Fingerprints are in the same generation as hand scanning and will confirm who the user is and accurately identifies a user in a 1:N (one to many) identification that is compared with many numerous records.1 This is a fast and reliable tool and are now being used as security features on home personal computers. These technologies are time tested and widely accepted by the public and the scans are none threatening and have a low False Reject Rate1 which allows fast and easy access to whatever and wherever this security feature is implemented.

Facial recognition is an old idea but has been rejuvenated by the "eigenfaces" technique.4 The new research is done in neural networks, hidden Markov models and shape analysis. Eigenfaces technique is the identification of a human face in real time.

So, as a person is moving the cameras can track a face and identify it as it moves. This is a great advancement because this will allow law enforcement agencies to quickly sift through crowds of people and search for terrorists and anyone who is recognized as a potential threat. This is done by collecting data on the face in 2-D and then processing it through eigenfaces which are the principal components of the initial training set of face images. Recognition is performed by projecting a new image into the subspace spanned by the eigenfaces ("face space") and then classifying the face by comparing its position in face space with the positions of known individuals.4 This is the basic version trying to get a face to be processed, saved then recognized. Face recognition is incredibly difficult do to movement, distance and then trying to acquire enough accurate detail to recognize the face but with the forward motion of our technological discoveries the technology will become more abundant over time.

Iris/Retinal scanning is another form security these will possibly push finger print scanning and hand scanning onto the back shelf and to low level security areas where less security is affordable. The iris is the area where the eye is colored usually blue or brown and outlines the dark pupil of the eye.

The way the iris is scanned is by a specialized camera that takes a high-resolution photograph with an infrared imager. This photograph is then stored in database so that when the iris is scanned again it will only need a few moments to display a match if one exists. As seen in movies when the "bad guy" cuts out a persons eye and uses it for an iris scan which is impossible since the camera looks for normal continuous fluctuations in the pupil size so as to not be fooled by a dead eye.1 An algorithm similar to the one shown above, for face recognition, is used to match the iris scan to the existing sample stored in the computer. This is an effective biometric tool since the iris' are composed before birth, and except in the event of an injury to the eye or head trauma, they're unchanged throughout an individual's lifetime. Since these scans are so accurate they boast of false acceptance rates close to the 0 percent.

VRD or Virtual Retinal Display can and will be used for both security and leisure activities. The VRD is capable of scanning a picture directly on the retina. The VRD uses vertical and horizontal scanning technology to input slices of picture onto the retina this allows the retina to pass the picture on to the brain (in yellow) which interprets the signals as the final picture. This can be used for personal computer. The person wearing the headset will be able to search the internet, check email, look at maps and just about anything that a home personal computer does. The military is already using this technology for apache helicopter pilots.

These pilots are now able to see mapped terrain, weapons/navigational instruments and still be able to look out over the real world. This is an awesome edge in combat. Also, military ground troops are able to use VRD assault weapons. Miniature video cameras are mounted to the rifle and then a picture is displayed in the VRD on the soldier's helmet. This enables the soldier to look around corners without putting themselves in harm's way. The virtual retinal display will be a widely used product in the future when prices fall and the product becomes more familiar "cyborgs", or a human who has certain physiological processes aided or controlled by mechanical or electronic devices7, will appear everywhere. Biometrics is a fast evolving industry and market. Security is a big issue with modern countries and people. These new technologies are improving on what we are scared of, and that is being hurt, wronged or taken control of. Accepting these new technologies will not be a problem due to the significance of the fear factor in humans with lack of security and even more in today's times. Security will become stronger, people will start integrating more technology into their personal lives. Cyborgs will be "a new breed of man." Technology affects us all and with VRD, iris/retina scanning, face recognition and hand scans "just tipping the ice burg" what fascinating new "gizmos" lie in wait?

by Anonymous Student



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