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U.S. Navy taps StereoVision for long-range facial recognition binoculars


The United States Navy is looking to procure a set of binoculars capable of reading faces from up to 650 feet away for identification purposes.

According to a January 16 contract announcement from the Department of the Navy, seeking a “Wireless 3D Binocular Face Recognition System,” the Navy is looking to aid stand-off identification of uncooperative subjects, and has awarded the contract to California-based StereoVision Imaging.

“High level, it’s a surveillance and identification system,” Greg Steinthal, president of StereoVision told Wired. “It’s using the ubiquitous binocular for real-time identification. The data point here is that this is to be used to add objectivity to an operation that’s highly subjective. So this is not intended for kinetic action to go arrest or detain someone. It’s more a tool to put other eyes on him or her.”

As Wired also reports, the technology essentially already exists as StereoVision has already developed a facial recognition binocular system, called 3DMobileID, which uses a three-dimensional recognition system, though it is only capable of scanning faces a maximum of 100 meters away.

Long range identification systems are slowly making their way to the mainstream. Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, Idair, which manufactures the AIRprint, a unique fingerprint scanner that can effectively scan fingerprints from as far as six meters away, recently saw a significant increase in demand following being listed in 2012’s “best of what’s new” list in Popular Science.

Last week at the IDGA Biometrics for National Security and Law Enforcement conference, various military representatives spoke about the military’s commitment to biometric technologies as well as some of the identification projects currently in the works both at home and in the field. You can read our coverage of the event here.

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