New iris scanner catches moving targets

Sarnoff has created an iris scanner that overcomes distance and motion, two common restrictions of iris-recognition systems, company officials said today.

Called Iris on the Move, the new biometric identification system allows up to 20 people a minute to walk through a portal at a normal pace without stopping, said Sarah Paris-Mascicki, manager of emerging products and ventures at Sarnoff.

“They have to do nothing but look straight ahead and open their eyes,” she said. Until now, iris scanners have required subjects to stop and face the reader so it can scan their eyes from a short distance, she added.

Iris on the Move uses two commercial products in a patent-pending combination of hardware and software, Paris-Mascicki said.

As subjects walk through the portal, a strobed infrared light, invisible to the human eye, illuminates their eyes like a camera flash would. Four high-resolution cameras capture the image from up to 10 feet away.

The light and cameras enlarge the area in which subjects’ heads must be positioned for the scanner to recognize their iris patterns, Paris-Mascicki said.

The scanner can read subjects’ irises through most eyeglasses, sunglasses and contact lenses, she said. Mirrored sunglasses and glasses with certain kinds of frames reflect the strobe light and must be removed, she said.

Iris on the Move has a modular design that clients can expand and alter to meet their needs, including accessibility requirements, Paris-Mascicki said.

Sarnoff officials hope the product will appeal to government and commercial facilities, such as military bases and critical infrastructure providers, that need the level of security iris recognition provides, Paris-Mascicki said.

It could also be useful in the trusted traveler programs governments use to weed out potential terrorists among airline passengers, she said.

The company introduced Iris on the Move at the Biometric Consortium Conference in Arlington, Va., last week.

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