Biometric Facial Indentification: Now, also, Under Your Skin

A biometric identification system is, in its most basic sense, a more “personal” security system. The reason why I say personal is due to the fact that biometric security recognizes physiological characteristics of the user; these systems commonly, but not exclusively, use fingerprints, palm prints, DNA, hand geometry,  iris and retina recognition, and facial recognition. However, all of these systems can be thwarted, in theory. A thief could get a mask of perfect proportion to the user or get fingerprints as well–you can even use a wet photocopy of a fingerprint to get through a fingerprint-scanning lock. Recently, at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India, a group of scientists have developed a new–and supposedly impossible to foil–facial recognition biometric security system.

The group–Ayan Seal, Suranjan Ganguly, Debotosh Bhattacharjee, Mita Nasipuri, and Dipak Kr. Basu–wanted to solve the problems of the flawed biometric systems, as stated above. What could be as unique as your fingerprint, but nearly impossible to copy? According to the scientists: blood vessels. Each and every one of us has a unique pattern of intertwined veins, arteries, and capillaries under our skin. The face, in particular, is an area of the body with very thin skin and a very high density of blood vessels–the perfect choice for an ultra-high security biometric lock in the group’s opinion.

An image of the user is taken by a thermal imaging camera using an infrared scan, which will detect the blood vessels. This image is then taken from the camera and sent to a computer using a specially-designed algorithm to process every single vein, artery, and capillary in the user’s face. Using this alone, the system is said to be over 97% accurate–an incredibly high percentage considering current percent accuracy ratings of facial recognition software can fall anywhere from 47% to 90% accurate depending on the image the user supplied to the computer. This team of scientists believes that this system alone will be impossible to foil because the replicators would have to create a blood vessel “mask” identical to that of the user.

Many also think that this new blood vessel-scanning system could be used alongside other forms of biometric security such as facial imaging, fingerprint scanning, and hand geometry to form a nearly 100% accurate biometric security system.



Innovation Toronto


Inderscience Publishers

The New York Times

Ayan Seal, Suranjan Ganguly, Debotosh Bhattacharjee, Mita Nasipuri, Dipak Kr. Basu. Automated thermal face recognition based on minutiae extractionInternational Journal of Computational Intelligence Studies, 2013

Image from Flickr

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