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Biometrics tunnel to feature on BBC One's new science show

23 July 2009

A unique ECS research facility will be featured in the first programme in an important new BBC science series.

Bang goes the Theory, which begins its first run on Monday 27 July at 7.30 pm on BBC One, will explore the science behind a new biometric – the way we walk - by visiting the world’s only biometrics tunnel, which is based in the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. The tunnel is a special research facility built to advance the research of Professor Mark Nixon and Dr John Carter of the ISIS (Information: Systems, Images, Signals) group.

The ECS biometrics tunnel provides the technology to analyse the way people walk as a unique identifier. The colour keying of blue and green squares ensures full image capture, with eight strategically placed cameras filming the movement of an individual as they walk through. The data is then recreated digitally using sophisticated software which enables unique walking patterns to be characterized and recorded on a database and matched to CCTV footage.

The presenters of the new show, Dallas Campbell and Liz Bonnin (pictured here with Professor Nixon) will be demonstrating how our walks can provide clues to our identity as we progress through public places such as airports, shopping centres, or sports venues.

Professor Nixon's group is well known for its pioneering role in the development of new biometrics: ‘We started out by realizing that people could be recognised by their faces and then by their gait - the way that they walk,’ said Mark Nixon. ‘Now we are finding that we can break that down further into the exact components that provide most recognition; in our gait research we are finding that it's not always the parts that move that provide us with the most information.'

Bang goes the Theory is a new venture for BBC One which aims to bring science to a mainstream family audience in the heart of the peak-time schedule.


For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453

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