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Identity science goes further with a new school of biometrics


The Center for Advanced Studies in Identity Science (CASIS) is currently helping to establish a new school of biometrics known as identity science, addressing the challenges of face and iris recognition.

CASIS is comprised of three universities—NC A&T, Clemson and the University of North Carolina Wilmington. CASIS is an Office of the Director of National Intelligence Science and Technology Center of Academic Excellence, funded in 2008 with close to $9 million thanks to a grant from the Army Research Laboratory. Its mission is cutting-edge science and technology research and educating students to expand the pool of talent in areas important to the United States and its security.

Researchers who are indirectly working for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence warned that there are still some tough challenges that need to be addressed in biometrics technology. Despite the fact that biometrics technology is widely utilized for military, national security, and commercial purposes, there are many things that need to be refined in this area, such as facial recognition in crowds and reaching conclusions with less than perfect data.

Although it can be affirmed that biometrics and identity science has a bright future for military and commercial uses and are presently widely used in these fields, there are still many ideas that are waiting to be expanded and explored for its improvement.

In an article in Signal Online, Professor and Chair of the Computer Science Department at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) Gerry Dozier said, “For about the first three years, we were doing work primarily in biometrics. Lately, we’ve been moving more into other forms of identity sciences, such as cyber identification”.

Karl Ricanek, an associate professor of computer science, University of North Carolina Wilmington, said that even though biometrics technology is widespread, that does not mean the research is complete. Furthermore, he adds that even as advances are made, more needs to be done.

“I think there are many applications where biometrics will solve a particular problem, but there are many more applications in which we have not necessarily advanced the technology far enough.” Ricanek explained.

“Speech recognition has been around since the ’60s. There was a lot of push in the ’70s and ’80s around speech, and in the late ’80s people felt the problem was solved, and we didn’t need to work on it anymore,” Ricanek cited as an example. “Today, we have Siri, which does a fairly good job of being able to discern speech and make certain queries on the Internet. Siri is OK, but it’s certainly not perfect.”

The researchers pointed out the need to improve the current processing time and security in traditional biometric technology. They also asserted that the final challenge is the lack of professional expertise and that the current population studying biometrics is not enough to meet the security demands of the nation.

“We would love to have more students,” Ricanek concluded.

What more do you think can and should be done to encourage biometrics education?

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