Carnegie Mellon University to set up New Pedo-Biometrics Research and Identity Automation Lab

July 20, 2012 - 

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers are turning to human feet as new biometric identifier. With $1.5 million per year, CMU’s Pedo-Biometrics Research and Identity Automation Lab will team up with a Canadian company, Autonomous_ID, to test a new identity automation technology using the human foot. Research will include identification, security and health applications, such as detecting the onset of diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson’s.

Pedo-biometrics is a new discipline in biometrics. It will be housed at CMU and will be headed by Professor Marios Savvides of CMU’s Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department. Key players from both CMU and Autonomous ID will team up to complement each other’s work.

Savvides is excited to venture into this new frontier. For one, it will complement his work of using the iris of the human eye as a identifier to trap cybercriminals. “As a researcher and a professor, this new frontier is exciting. There is really no limit to what can be done with this new identity technology; I look forward to beginning,” says Savvides.

Savvides will provide the roadmap for scientific analysis and algorithm research and development for the new pedo–biometrics discipline, which uses a specifically designed insole to monitor foot movement.

Teaming up with Savvides is another ECE professor, Vijayakumar Bhagavatula, along with Vladimir Polotski, chief science and technology officer of Autonomous_ID, who will provide researchers with the instructional technology intrinsic to the emerging science of pedo-biometrics.

Autonomous_ID has developed BioSole, an identity apparatus with a cloud connected software automation suite. The firm specializes in developing and selling workforce identity systems. Through this academic collaboration, the company hopes to field test the apparatus.

Todd Gray, chairman and president of Autonomous_ID said of the research: “The continuing threats to military personnel and critical infrastructure and the growing national cybersecurity vulnerabilities demand a new breed of credentialing technology, and what our group has achieved certainly puts a whole new spin on things.”

“This new collaboration is a wonderful way to showcase our ongoing work in the emerging field of biometrics and our growing commitment to integrate innovative lab work with the needs of industry,” said Bhagavatula. “It also offers wonderful opportunities for fundamental research in pedo-biometrics with potential applications in medical diagnosis, forensic science, privacy, security and automation.”

Do you think a new biometrics technology that monitors feet movement has real world applications?

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About T'ash Spenser

T’ash Spencer writes full time for She has 15 years experience in the field of regional planning and earned her Master’s of Science in Regional Development Planning and Management from the University of Dortmund, Germany. Follow her @tashspencer1.