As Xbox One was unveiled yesterday in Washington, biometrics among other facets were named as a main feature. It is no secret that biometrics have played a role in gaming before with the Xbox Kinect using biometric sensor technology to map your body and movements to become the controller. However, in order to compete with the ever evolving gaming market, Xbox have introduced biometrics into their original product design.
Matt Booty, General Manager of Redmond Game Studios commented at the launch:
When I think about raw building blocks you have the ability to understand and recognise your voice, the ability to track up to six people in a room, a very wide field of view, a 1080p camera, infra-red that can detect a bit more about the state of your body… That’s just a lot of exciting building blocks and I’ve got to imagine there’s a lot of cool stuff people are going to do with that. That comes back to that theme of personalisation, and the system understanding more about who you are. That you’re not just a set of thumbs with a joy pad.
Although this is all the information that has been released so far, it seems they have saved all the details for the next Expo in LA next month. Hopefully more information on the biometric side of things will be revealed!
The XBox One which was unveiled yesterday
It has been rumoured that the iPhone 5S will include a fingerprint reader which will interface with the original button feature currently on the devices. This is apparently in the hope to firstly reduce hacking and secondly remove the need for passwords into the phone.
Apple recently posted a job opening for an engineer to work on biometric authentication, which prompted significant rumours into the newest technology interface with a smart phone.
The iPhone 5S fingerprint system is the first iPhone 5S rumour that is to hold any substance, tracing back to a report one week before the iPhone 5 launch event. Most of the rumours suggest an iPhone 5S fingerprint reader would be built into the home button, but an early iPhone 5 concept video showed one on the screen of the device.
However, with launch not until summer 2013 or early autumn, we will all just have to wait and find out if the exciting rumours are true.
If so, this shift in smart phone technology could ignite a trend in similar devices. As of yet, laptop computers have integrated fingerprint scanners into their systems, but in the UK there has been no launch of mobile phones with the biometric technology.
Lets hope that the device interface will live up the expectations set by ievo® when it comes to biometrics.
Paypal want to see the end of passwords by investing in biometrics, and more specifically fingerprint readers.
If you run into problems trying to remember a password on your mobile or computer when trying to buy something, then things could be about to get easier with this latest news. The days of the lowly password are numbered…
We rely on passwords in our everyday lives and deciding upon one can be a challenge. Ideally, the best password would be something like Az1f6&jWz – but you’d never remember it. So the industry is looking to ditch passwords, and is turning to a variety of solutions, such as voice recognition, key stroke analysis and finger print identification.
Payments firm PayPal is one of those leading the changes, and president David Marcus says the aim is to make the whole process seamless. The best protection is the one you don’t see.” Paypal want to move away from passwords, and get to embedded fingerprint scanners on mobile phones. “You’re going to start seeing that type of experience later this year, with a mass roll-out in the year to come.”
Earlier this month, PayPal, Lenovo and others announced the formation of the Fido Alliance (Fast Identity Online) to change the way online security checks are carried out.
For PayPal, solving the password security problem is important because so many people now use it to make purchases – it has 125 million customers in more than 190 countries.
“You shop offline more than you shop online, but in most of these transactions mobile is involved now,” says Mr Marcus.
“As the offline market is 17 times bigger than the online market, there is still huge untapped potential for us.”
The key driver for this has been the way in which customers are increasingly using phones, tablets and other handheld devices to make purchases.
Last year, PayPal recorded $145bn (£95bn) in total transactions, of which $14bn were via mobile devices, says Mr Marcus.
It will be exciting to see when and how these biometric changes will be implemented!
Passengers at London’s Heathrow Airport are among the first in the world to use biometric technology as part of a self-boarding gate solution.
Terminal 1 passengers are being invited to take part in a two month ‘self-boarding’ trial in partnership with South African Airways. The trial is using facial biometric data to help them board their flight faster and more efficiently.
When passengers reach the ‘self-boarding’ gate, they pass through an automatic electronic barrier which takes an infrared scan of their face. This information is checked against the biometric data that was taken at the check-in stage. When the two sets of data scans are successfully matched, the barrier opens and the passenger can pass through and board their flight.
The technology means that a passenger’s identity needs to be checked by airline staff only once in the whole departure process, reducing the time it takes for passengers to get to their seats ready for take off. It also allows airline staff to spend more time with those passengers who require greater assistance.
The personal data is stored securely and will be destroyed at the end of the trial.
Heathrow’s Terminal 1 Director said: “We are working in partnership with our airlines to trial this technology which should help make our passengers’ journeys smoother and simpler. Since its introduction we have had positive feedback from both airlines and passengers.”
So far over 300 South African Airways passengers have chosen to use the technology as part of their departure journey.
New technology is already being used by passengers throughout the departure process, from checking in via mobile phones, ‘self-service bag drops’ to automated ticket presentation prior to passenger security. Introduced in November 2012, the self service bag drop enables passengers to generate and attach their own bag tags before placing their luggage onto the automated bag drop facility.
Feedback from this trial has been positive, showing passengers are quick to adopt new technology to help streamline their journey through the airport.
This result tallies well against a recent survey by IATA. It showed that of those respondents, 77% were comfortable using biometrics if available and 71% preferred to use self-boarding gates.
Chart Source: IATA
Technology would track teachers clocking in…..
The system of teachers signing in when they arrive at school is outdated and open to abuse, and needs to be replaced with technology, says the basic education department.
The Department of Basic Education is turning to technology in a bid to solve the challenge of teacher absenteeism, in a mammoth project that will see 24 000 schools equipped with biometric clocking devices.
The project, believed to be the biggest of its kind within government, is set to be implemented in 2015, and should provide the department with real-time statistics relating to a lack of teachers in classrooms.
However, biometric clock-in systems are susceptible to vandalism, and the range and diversity of schools in SA will make implementation challenging.
Playing catch up
Department of Basic Education says it is planning a biometric clock-in system for teachers at all of its 24 000 schools, but the project is in its infancy stage. The current system of signing in and out is from the “stone age”.
The conceptual plan is for the system to be implemented in 2015, but it could be done next year if all parties are in agreement and the funds are available. “In every class, there must be a teacher in front of the class.”
The current system is problematic, as some teachers sign in on behalf of others, while some educators forget to sign in at all, he says. If teachers are not at work for three days, the department can act faster and deduct money from salaries quicker than is currently the case, where the process takes as long as two months, notes Lesufi. He adds that over-performers can also be rewarded.
The biometric clock-in system will link up with the department’s human resources management tool. However, it is pointed out that the department needs to consult with teachers over the project, and a pilot project will only be launched after consultations end.
The department has not yet issued tenders or finalised numbers, so the total budget could be more or less than the R480 million cited by several media reports. The department is about to consult with teachers and hopes to persuade them of the merits of the system.
A biometric system will aid the department in filling vacancies as this process will become automated. It will also notify the department of teacher migrations to other schools and will aid it in planning its budget.
SA declared education as an apex priority in 2009. During his State of the Nation Address yesterday evening, president Jacob Zuma said: “We want to see everyone in the country realising that education is an essential service for our nation.”
Zuma explained that this “means we want the education sector and society as a whole to take education more seriously than is happening currently. All successful societies have one thing in common – they invested in education.
“In elevating education to its rightful place, we want to see an improvement in the quality of learning and teaching, and the management of schools. We want to see an improvement in attitudes, posture and outcomes. Working with educators, parents, the community and various stakeholders, we will be able to turn our schools into centres of excellence,” said Zuma.
Thanks to the installation of biometric machines at hostels run by the social welfare department, a scam involving officials of the department in collusion with contractors has been exposed.
The department, which had installed biometric fingerprint systems at 280 hostels in various parts of the state, found that only 35% of the students were actually staying in these hostels.
However, officials were found creating false bills for the supply of food items in nexus with contractors, claiming that all the students were residing in the hostels. The state government, waking up to the situation, has now decided to install biometric systems in all 4,144 hostels in the State.
Announcing the decision the social welfare minister said, “To put an end to various malpractices and bring in transparency we have decided to install biometric scanners and CCTV cameras at all the hostels across the state. In the future, the attendance of students will get registered on an intranet and higher officials in the department will access all the data. The movement of officials will also come under the scanner and a lackadaisical approach to inspection of hostels will hopefully cease.”
When asked why there was poor attendance of students in these hostels, the minister said, “It is not known yet, though we have noticed that hostels for senior students are recording good numbers, while the numbers at hostels for secondary students have always been minimal.”
“This could be because of the effective implementation of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan scheme that facilitates establishment of secondary schools in each village. Students, therefore, have no need to avail these hostel facilities anymore,” he added.
A biometric fingerprinting system is being integrated into another American high school this week.
The system will be used for students only when it comes to purchasing their school lunches. It begins with Oakcrest High School on Friday, Feb. 8, and moves on to two further schools, assuming everything works as expected at Oakcrest.
In simple terms biometrics is using personal traits to identify individuals. In this case the schools will be controlling the identification using fingerprints.
The idea for the Schools is that eventually, students won’t have to use cash for their lunches. An account can be set up for each student, and lunches can be charged to those accounts via a system that identifies students by characteristics of their fingerprints, though won’t be identified using the entire fingerprint. This system is already present within schools in the UK.
It eliminates the use of cash in the building, making it less of a liability. School officials said the system is being implemented for efficiency.
“Right now, if students forget their ID cards, they have to get a temporary card and present that. It’s time consuming,” Muller said. “This way, a student can just use their finger.”
According to Board Solicitor, the use of biometrics is becoming more commonplace in schools, particularly in cafeterias. Locally, elementary schools use the system.
In a broader sense, biometrics is used in computer science as a form of identification and access control. Fingerprinting falls under the category of physiological biometrics, which includes identification by voice or DNA. Behavorial biometrics is the other category used for tracking purposes.
The system has been used in schools internationally since the early part of the 21st century. In addition to use in school cafeterias, the system has been used to address truancy and replace library cards.
Board member Robert Ross questioned if the system could be used in the school’s stores. Although it is strictly designed for the cafeteria at this point, Muller said the district could look into that possibility.
Since its inception, there have been some concerns about privacy issues as it relates to biometrics. Part of that concern has to do with the creation of databases as a result of the fingerprinting technology.
According to Muller, there will be no permanent records kept as a result of the collection of fingerprint identification, and there is no chance for identity theft.
He also stated that students who object to the system for reasons religious or otherwise will not be forced to become a part of it.
Muller also said he sent out a letter to parents on Jan. 18 to inform them of the implementation of the system.
“I have not heard anything back,” Muller said. “ … If I don’t hear anything back, I assume consent.”
Biometric scanners like fingerprint readers and face identification technology – have started to make the move from sifi flicks into your own home. Some of these biometrics are standard today, like Facebooks photo tagging, but what does the future hold?
Well, imagine a world where your car would run only after it knew you were sitting in the driver’s seat, and gun accidents were dramatically reduced thanks to firearms that require a fingerprint before letting anyone pull the trigger. If biometric technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, these innovations may be closer than you think. We’re not there yet, but that doesn’t mean biometrics isn’t about to become a big part of your life.
Smile for the camera
Facial recognition technology could already be in your pocket. Samsung’s Galaxy S III, for example, has a “Face Unlock” option that scans your mug before unlocking the phone. However, as anyone who has used this feature can attest, it’s not perfect. In fact, it’s not even close. The early days of the new feature were a bit of a joke, and the web was full with stories of how easy it was to fool the system using a photo of the phone’s owner.
Likewise, the technology can have a difficult time verifying your identity if you have anything on your face, like a pair of glasses. Updates have given the Face Unlock feature a bit more stability, and the scan will now search for “signs of life” like blinking and other movements, but it’s still not as ironclad as you might want to believe.
The good news here is that the technology is becoming cheaper, and thus is becoming more widespread among various manufacturers. Competition should bring the cost down, which is great news for consumers. Could we see facial recognition more widely implemented for things like building security or even at home? Perhaps, but right now the technology is too flimsy for the mass market.
Facial recognition seems to be a better fit for applications such as photo tagging, which is something Facebook has been using for some time now. By comparing photos in which you have already been identified with new photos, Facebook’s software can identify you in other photos in which you appear. Of course there is controversy and privacy advocates have been fighting the social network over the use of the feature ever since it was introduced.
At this point, using your face to unlock a gadget like your smartphone is simply a matter of convenience, rather than a true security feature. Setting up your phone to recognize your face can give you quicker access to your device than typing in a password, but you’re sacrificing some security in the process. With that in mind, the future doesn’t look particularly bright for this form of biometric identification. Yes, the technology could grow to be more secure, but that will likely lead to even more false negatives if you happen to wear glasses or have hair covering a portion of your face. Until a company can remedy both of those big issues, we’re calling this one a dud.
Unlock with a touch
Compared to facial recognition systems, fingerprint identification has matured much faster. The technology already has a wide useage, from providing security for high-value laptops to small businesses that use the systems as time clocks to track employees’ hours. It’s also much more difficult to trick a fingerprint scanner into believing you’re someone else.
Recent rumors have pointed to fingerprint scanning being implemented in Apple’s next iPhone, and while that idea might seem slightly far-reaching, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility. In fact, Apple recently purchased a company that knows all about fingerprint scanning, and while it’s difficult to tell which product line the tech might pop up in, it’s clear that Apple are most definitely interested.
Of course, print identification isn’t without limitations: A cut on your finger can prevent the scanner from functioning, and obviously gloves or other hand coverings are problematic. But despite that, your fingerprints are all over the biometric revolution, and you’re going to be using them plenty if you’re not already doing so.
Fingerprint readers have advanced to the point that you don’t even need to touch your digit onto a panel in order to get it read. One company is rumoured to be developing a scanner that can read your fingerprint from almost 20 feet away. If that doesn’t make you feel like you’re living in the future, I don’t know what will.
A pricey proposition
Yes, fingerprint and facial recognition have arrived, but what about the super futuristic technologies we see in movies? Well, for the time being, many of the more advanced forms of biometric identification remain either too expensive or just plain nonexistent.
Take, for example, retina scanning—or iris scanning, which is the more accurate term. Sure, we’ve seen it in on TV for decades, but in reality the technology is only just starting to become practical for everyday business security. Most eye scanning systems are too expensive and complicated for the vast majority of businesses, and firmly out of the realm of everyday home security. Sure, there are some comparatively cheap options, but ID card readers are cheaper and most businesses don’t see the benefit in taking security to the digital extreme.
Likewise, it would be nice to have a security system that could recognize and identify us simply by the sound of our voice, and that is still many years in the future. Our phones, TVs and other gadgets are just now gaining the ability to recognize even the most basic human speech, so betting the security of your home, or even your smartphone, on a machine is currently out of the question.
All in all, biometric technology shows promise, especially when it comes to fingerprint recognition. While certain areas of the industry are advancing by leaps and bounds, others just aren’t living up to the hype. For at least the next few years, you’re much more likely to be unlocking your phone, or even your home security system, using your fingerprint than with a blink of your eye.
The media is currently going wild on a story out that researchers will use up to 11 different body parts to track you. Has biometrics gone mad? We are all accustomed to identification through fingerprints and facial recognition but can ALL these parts really work too? This blog focuses on a summary of the main ideas and what we think of it!
1. The Ear
In 2010, a group of British researchers used a process called “image ray transform” to shoot light rays at human ears, and then repeat an algorithm to draw an image of the tubular-shaped parts of the organ. The curved edges around the rim of the ear is a characteristic. Then, the researchers converted the images into a series of numbers marking the image as your own. Finally, it’s just a matter of a machine scanning your ears again, and matching it up to what’s already stored in the system, which the researchers were able to do accurately 99.6 percent of the time.
Our doubt here would centre around the fact that ears can easily change… what immediately comes to mind is that of rugby players? Or how would this system work with regards to hair or jewellery.
Would it work for this man?
2. Our Odor
In the early and mid-2000s, the Pentagon’s blue-sky researchers at Darpa dabbled in something called the “Unique Signature Detection Project,” which sought to explore ways to detect people by their scent, and maybe even spot and identify individuals based on their distinct smells. Odor detection is still just a research project at the moment. The science is intricate, involving more than 300 chemical compounds that produce human odor. Our personal stinks can change depending on everything from what we eat to our environment. But it may be possible to distinguish our “primary odor” — separate from “secondary” odors based on our diet and “tertiary” odors based on things like soaps and shampoos.
We aren’t too excited about this becoming the next biometric craze. Can it really work? It will be interesting to find out….
3. Our Heartbeat
The key is the Doppler Effect – the changes in frequency when one object moves relative to another. We hear it all the time, when a fire engine passes by, siren blaring. For years, researchers have been monkeying with radars that are sensitive enough to to detect those minuscule chest movements — but powerful enough to do it from hundreds of yards away.
4. Voice Biometrics
Finally, a biometric concept we are familiar with. From using this on our iPhone to our laptops. Russian biometrics firm has the technology to do this! The system is able to automatically recognize a person’s voice as their own, provided your voice is pre-recorded in a database and can be recalled by the computer. The company has also developed a version for “large city, county, state or national system deployments.”
5. The Iris
Imagine a scanner than can look deep inside your eye — from 10 feet away. Actually, you don’t have to think that hard. The technology is already here. Scanners have been developed that can focus in and scan irises from a distance of 10 feet, such the IOM PassPort, developed by government contractor SRI International. The company promises the machine can scan irises at a rate of 30 people per minute — like in high-traffic areas such as airports and train stations. SRI also claims it can see through contact lenses and glasses.
6. Fingerprint Scanners…. not as we know them
Fingerprint scanners. we can’t sing their praises enough. However, one firm is looking into developing one that can recognise you at up to 20 ft away.
Will this really work? It doesn’t look like they’ll hit the market for a very long time so we will just have to play the waiting game!
This is an area we have discussed on the ievo blog before. Can someone really be identified by their walk? The problem is that gait can be kind of hard to spot. A briefcase or a bum leg prevents the recognition system from getting a clear view. So filming someone walk didn’t make for a particularly reliable biometric system. Plus, the same person may have multiple gaits — one for walking, and another for running, say. But the spread of smartphones has opened up a new way of identifying someone’s stride. Androids and iPhones all have accelerometers — sensors that measure how far, how fast, and with how much force an object moves.
Really!? Our Sweat… we hope not.
In 2010, the Army awarded a nearly $70,000 contract to California security firm Irvine Sensors Corporation to develop software that can use sensors to recognize at “abnormal perspiration and changes in body temperature.” The idea was to determine “harmful intent in such military applications as border patrol, stand-off interrogation, surveillance and commercial applications” including surveillance at businesses and “shopping areas.”
Maybe this will take off…we doubt it though
Other body parts include the basics facial recognition and DNA testing. But overall a very interesting issue. it is astonishing just how unique our simple parts our from our Odour to our Walk.
Let us know what you think! Would you be happy with people storing your sweat?
Forget digital fingerprints, iris recognition and voice identification, the next big thing in biometrics could be your knobbly knees. Just as a fingerprints and other body parts are unique to us as individuals and so can be used to prove who we are, so too are our kneecaps. A computer scientist from Michigan, has now demonstrated how a knee scan could be used to single us out.
The approach based on MRI could be used to quickly register and identify people in a moving queue as they approach passport control at airports for instance or as they walk through the entrance to an office block or other building.
The approach has been tested and achieved accuracy of around 93 percent, this coupled with other factors such as possession of the correct passport, being in the right place at the right time or tied to other biometrics such as iris recognition and signature analysis could be used to prevent deception and fraud. Contact lenses can be used to dupe iris recognition systems, passports can be forged.
“Deceptive manipulation requires an invasive and complicated medical procedure, and therefore it is more resistant to spoofing compared to methods such as face, fingerprints, or iris,” the developer has pointed out. It would be almost impossible to fake one’s internal body parts including the kneecaps. Of course, kneecaps are a renowned target of irreversible and deleterious adjustment in the criminal world, but even then shattered kneecaps are likely to be unique to the victim in any case.
MRI scanning avoids health risk of scanning with ionizing radiation, such as X-rays, it would also avoid some of the privacy issues that have arisen with terahertz scanners that can “see” beneath a person’s clothing, whereas MRI goes more than skin deep. There is a distinct problem with the implementation of MRI scanning in a security setting in that MRI scanners are very large machines and take a long time to acquire an image of even a small body part such as the kneecap. However, developments in MRI technology are fast moving and it is likely that within the medium term more portable and faster equipment will emerge that could fulfill the security role.
“Further studies will develop the concept of internal biometrics, and will lead to automatic identification methods that are highly resistant to spoofing,” concludes Shamir.