The University of Southampton

Where are biometrics going?

Published: 8 December 2004

The future of personal identification technologies such as biometrically-based ID cards and their capabilities to meet current expectations will be addressed at a seminar on The Challenge of Biometrics being held next Tuesday (14 December) at the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) in London.

Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing a person based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic. Among the features measured are: face, fingerprints, handwriting, iris, retinal, and walk. The seminar will address the spread of these technologies - from border control applications to national ID programmes - and address whether they are ready for what is expected of them.

Professor Mark Nixon of the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton, one of the UK's earliest researchers in this field, will deliver a presentation entitled Advances in new biometrics. He will discuss some of the newer biometrics such as gait, recognition by ear and identification by tapping, and assess how each performs and contributes generally to advances in the field.

Professor Nixon's group is well known for its pioneering role in the development of new biometrics, from face recognition to, more recently, gait and ears as a biometric.

He comments: 'There has been constant innovation in the short history of biometrics and it is crucial for deployment and performance enhancement. For example, we started out by realizing that people could be recognised by their faces and then by the way that they walk. 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.'

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