Ageing Eyes Hinder Biometric Scans

May 29, 2012 - 

Biometric scans have always been considered as one of the most reliable ways to perform of security measures, however latest studies show that it might not just be the case. Latest studies suggest that the appearance of irises change over time as one of the effects of ageing.

This fact regarding the ageing effect on irises may possibly cause some issues especially to countries such as the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates which utilizes biometrics for border control. “At the very least, it could cause delays if people have to be scanned again. At worst, it implies that people might increasingly be able to evade detection when moving between countries”, says Kevin Bowyer, a computer science professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

Studies performed by Bowyer and his colleague Samuel Fenker shows that the false non-match rate of iris detection has increased over three years by 153%. A “false non-match rate” is the rate at which a biometric system fails to match two images of the same iris. Bowyer’s study concentrated on comparing the quality match of pairs of irises that were recorded a month apart between those of one up to three years apart.

Bowyer also suggests that iris biometric marketing claims stating that only a single enrolment of an iris is needed for a lifetime is false. A large margin of error should be expected from iris recognition systems since there will always be minor differences between the original image of the iris and the iris over time as its ages. Although the rate of increased false rate matches is slow, it can be classified as a major issue, since the iris image profiles are projected to degrade over a 5 to 10 year time period. Bowyer also stressed that there is a need to develop algorithms for iris-recognition systems that will be less affected by ageing.

Bowyer’s research will be presented next month at a biometrics workshop at the IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference, which will be held in Rhode Island between June 16 and 21.

Are ageing eye profiles a problem if biometric-based identification is subject to 5 to 10 year renewals?

Leave a Comment


About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.