Face verification: Visionics Corp.'s FaceIt

For face verification, we looked at technology from Visionics Corp. However,

Visionics doesn't market a product directly, but licenses the technology

to various OEM integrators and partners such as BioNetrix Systems Corp.

and Keyware Technologies Inc. For our tests, we looked at the Visionics

technology used in the BioNetrix Authentication Suite.

Face verification can be used to log on to a PC or to access particular

applications. It has also been used for other applications such as border

control and keeping attendance.

The system works by analyzing particular features of the face, such

as the distance between the eyes and the nose, and the shape and location

of the cheekbones. Skin color and gender are not factors in the process,

and the technology is designed to compensate for glasses, hats and beards.

The enrollment process is quick and fairly simple. Users pose in front

of the camera until the window on the computer screen shows an acceptable

image of the entire face. Then they must click a button to begin capturing

images for enrollment. During this phase, users are instructed to vary the

angle of the face slightly. The camera rapidly takes nine images and displays

each of them in the enrollment window. The system then creates a facial

template and enrollment is complete. The entire process only takes a couple

of minutes.

Using face verification through BioNetrix is very easy. The application

is automatically activated when you attempt to log in or open an application

that requires face verification to enter. If you are within the camera's

range, recognition takes place in the blink of an eye. If there is a problem,

an on-screen window shows you the camera's image and you can adjust your

position until the software has a satisfactory view of you.

There is little to manage within the BioNetrix face recognition module

itself. A Setup Device Parameters window allows you to adjust the threshold

and set a user timeout, which is the time in which the user is allowed to

attempt authentication before the system times out.

We found the system to be very accurate when the threshold was set appropriately.

A very low threshold will result in false acceptance of nearly anyone who

attempts authentication. With a more secure threshold, however, even similar-looking

people could not authenticate with each other's identities.

Keep in mind that with face recognition, environmental factors play

a large role. You must have adequate lighting, and it's best to enroll yourself

in the same environment in which you'll be using the system.

Also, take note that the technology as configured by BioNetrix does

not yet work with Windows 2000. The BioNetrix Authentication Suite costs

between $70 and $250 per user.

For more information about Visionics, call (201) 332-9213.

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