Could ears be the perfect biometric?

May 29, 2012 - 

Research into ear biometrics by University of Southampton professor Mark Nixon has raised new potential for security systems.

Nixon believes that using photos of individual ears matched against a comparative database could be as distinctive a form of identification as fingerprints.

Nixon noted: “Using ears for identification has clear advantages over other kinds of biometric identification, as, once developed, the ear changes little throughout a person’s life. This provides a cradle-to-grave method of identification.”

Nixon and his research colleagues believe that this form of non-contact identification could have a possible application in security systems.

“During walkthroughs at security checkpoints cameras could digitally photograph passers-by comparing their ears against others in a database. Used in combination with face recognition, ear recognition offers a second point of comparison in cases where all or part of a face might be obstructed, for example, by make-up,” he said.

“Keeping images of ears, as opposed to faces, might also raise fewer privacy concerns,” he added.

Will using ears for biometric identification ever become popular?

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.