Irish biometric tech to improve border security

(Image: NUIG, Compact Imaging)



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29 June 2017 | 0

Technology from a partnership of NUI Galway and Compact Imaging will form the basis of new biometrics technology that aims to improve detection of attempts to evade or deceive biometric security systems, such as fingerprint scanners.

SRI International (SRI) has selected the technology as a critical component in the development of ‘dynamic biometrics’ for improved detection. The development is being carried out under a multi-year contract awarded to SRI as part of the US Government’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, National Intelligence Directorate (IARPA) Odin Programme.

The goal of the Odin Programme is to develop advanced technologies to detect attempts to deceive biometric security systems, which are referred to as ‘presentation attacks’. Conventional biometrics, such as fingerprint, iris and face, often rely on static surface images of human tissue. According to the Department of Homeland Security, in 2015 the US Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) processed nearly 400 million people entering the US, almost 40 million of whom required a “secondary inspection” because of suspicious behaviour or adverse information in the primary screening process.

Under the Odin Program, SRI is researching innovative dynamic biometrics systems and techniques to dramatically improve the presentation attack detection capabilities of biometric systems by imaging, measuring and analysing real-time physiological responses of living tissue to external and internal stimuli. By analysing such factors as changes in heart rate, perspiration and blood flow, the system will reliably detect whether these tissues are real or being faked.

Compact Imaging’s Multiple Reference OCT (MRO) technology, which uses optical means to rapidly and non-invasively create depth images of human tissue, is expected to play a key role in the suite of dynamic biometrics techniques SRI is developing.

The project will capitalise on rapid advances in Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). The work is supported by the Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging (TOMI) group at NUI Galway. The correlation mapping OCT algorithm provides the most secure approach to fingerprint biometrics, by imaging the pattern of tiny blood vessels which supply the fingerprint.

Initial demonstrations of MRO’s sub-dermal fingerprint imaging capabilities were conducted in part here at Compact Imaging’s research collaboration with NUI Galway. The collaboration was initiated in 2012 and has successfully demonstrated MRO in a variety of applications from biometric security to non-destructive testing.

Professor Martin Leahy, chair of Applied Optics and director of the Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging (TOMI) Laboratory at NUI Galway, directs the collaboration’s research efforts in Galway.

“We are delighted that Compact Imaging has been chosen by SRI for dynamic biometric authentication applications,” said Professor Leahy. “Our collaboration with Compact Imaging to advance OCT and MRO has been an ideal partnership in which our team has provided substantial research for applications critical to society worldwide.”

“The security of personal data is a pressing global concern, as we are using fingerprints for everything from phone unlocking to security checks. Technology developed at NUI Galway is supporting businesses and governments to verify identities more rigorously to make our personal data more secure,” said Professor Leahy.




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