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FaceIt® is an award-winning facial recognition software engine that allows computers to rapidly and accurately detect and recognize faces.

FaceIt® enables the broadest range of applications in the marketplace; from ID Solutions to information security to banking and e-commerce -- it is the most widely deployed facial recognition engine today.

Capabilities of FaceIt® 

Face Detection

Detects single or multiple faces--even in complex scenes

Face Recognition

Functions in either of the following: Authentication ( one-to-one matching) or Identification (one-to-many matching)

Image Quality

Evaluates quality of image for face recognition and, if needed, prompts for improved image

Segmentation

Crops faces from background

Faceprint

Generates digital code or internal template, unique to an individual

Tracking

Follows faces over time

Compression

Compresses facial images down to 84 bytes in size

Detect single or multiple faces in a field of view -- even with complex backgrounds

Crop a face from within an image
Consistently track a known face over multiple video frames
Compress a facial image down to an 84-byte template

Match one face against a stored record for verification (one-to-one matching)

Look for a known face against a large photo database for identification purposes (one-to-many matching)

Evaluate the quality of a facial image for computerized facial recognition purposes and, if needed, prompts for improved image

The tell-tale signs of who you are
Gadgets that can read fingerprints, scan your eyes and recognise your voice - once, they all seemed to come right out of a James Bond movie; now, most of us are likely to come across such devices in our everyday lives. No longer the stuff known only to fictional covert operatives, airline passengers at many airports, for instance, now routinely undergo fingerprint or eye scans to prove their identity.



The technology that makes this possible is called biometrics, and it uses computer systems to identify a person by their unique physical or behavioural features. It’s still a developing technology, but the idea that biometrics affords better protection against passport fraud and terror attacks by providing tougher identity checks is the key reason why it has received early acceptance from the travel industry and indeed, governments.
Several countries across Europe have already introduced biometric passports and ID cards for their citizens. In the Middle East, however, the trend is just getting started.
“The GCC region is still a bit behind in this issue,” says Liaquat Hussain Parkar, lead consultant for the Middle East and North Africa at IT firm LogicaCMG.  Nevertheless, he says, the UAE has been a trend-setter of sorts. It introduced the e-gate system at Dubai airport in 2002, allowing passengers to use a smart card containing a fingerprint scan to fast-track security checks. That was followed by the introduction of eye-scanning systems.
Now, Parkar says, the whole region is starting to explore the idea of biometrics. “Several governments in the region have introduced or are in the process of introducing biometric ID cards.” Again, the UAE is a good example of that. Its government is in the middle of introducing smart ID cards containing iris (eye) scans to its citizens. The card is expected to eventually replace the traditional labour card, health card and driving licence.
“The next trend will be the introduction of biometric passports in the region,” predicts Parkar. “It could happen in the next two years.” Even businesses are starting to hop aboard the biometrics brigade.  UK-based Barclays bank recently announced that it would introduce biometrics-enabled ATMs  - which would authenticate customers by reading fingerprints - in the UAE.
For Parkar, these are clear signs of things to come. “Gradually, we will see similar measures being extended to online financial transactions as well,” he says.  As companies pile up  sensitive digital data, they’re expected to become more willing to reach for their cheque books for biometric security as well.
“Currently, we have passwords and pin numbers to access data and our networks; in a few years, biometric identifiers will become common,” says Parkar.  One of the reasons for the optimism rustling through the biometrics industry is because traditional documents of identification - conventional passports and driving licences - are commonly acknowledged to be failing miserably at their jobs.
It’s an issue that’s causing headaches for governments and corporations alike. In the US, for instance, identity theft costs the economy about $50 billion a year. “People are now ensuring that sensitive financial documents such as bills are shredded rather than just thrown in the bin,” he says. “We’ve had instances where fraudsters go through trash cans to get hold of sensitive personal data.”
The promise of assuaging those fears is the reason why security experts offer such a flourishing assessment for the biometrics industry. Global spending on biometric systems touched $2 billion in 2006 and is expected to soar to $5 billion by 2010. In the UAE alone, spending on biometrics is forecast to hit $630 million in two years.
Fingerprint-reading systems remain the most widely used verification technique, accounting for up to 43 per cent of the global market.
Its relatively widespread use may have something to do with the fact that many people believe that fingerprints are a fool-proof way of checking identity.
But Parkar says that’s not really true. “Iris scanning systems are more secure.” He says that all fingerprint systems run the small but real risk of false matches. “But an iris scan can detect the difference even between identical twins who share the same DNA profile.”
Waiting to make a larger incursion on the market are voice recognition, palm scans and facial recognition systems. But the next big step in the evolution of this technology is likely to be systems that combine several biometric identifiers.
“We will see, for example, systems that combine fingerprint reading, take an iris scan and ask you to key in personal data,” says Parkar. “Authentication improves with multiple levels of biometrics and increases the probability that people really are who they say they are.”
With so much going on, Parkar says that “biometrics looks increasingly set to become a part of our everyday lives”.
That may not come as welcome news for all because biometrics is still a highly controversial business. Privacy activists have increasingly agitated against its applications, worried that the data - typically stored on government databases – could be misused by unscrupulous authorities.
Parkar acknowledges those fears. “I think governments and corporations have to make it very clear that any data they store will be used only for the purposes they were agreed to be used for. They have to be held accountable,” he says. He also thinks public hostility towards providing such data could soften if they proved time-saving over other forms of security screenings.
“If it doesn’t make life more difficult, people are likely to accept it,” says Parkar. Even as the industry struggles to win a vote of confidence from wary citizens, experts say governments – among the first to acquire a fondness for biometrics - will continue to drive the industry’s growth.
“I think, in terms of spend, governments will always be the biggest customers, simply because the scale of things is much bigger. They can apply these methods on millions of citizens,” Parkar says. Which suggests biometrics, and its increasing applications, are here to stay.

 

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I-Cube.   All rights reserved.  Revised: February 18, 2008 .

 

Kinks in Homeland Security Program

WNYC News



NEW YORK, NY August 03, 2007 —The General Accounting Office says a Homeland Security computer system used to screen incoming foreigners does not have the sufficient security controls to prevent hacking.

REPORTER: The US-VISIT program was put in place after 9/11 to help prevent dangerous people from entering the country. Robert Mocny runs the computer program. He says the system has never been breached and that the GAO's critiques have already been addressed.

MOCNY: We are somewhere in the 1800 range of people who have been actively taken out because of the biometrics alone. The State Department has identified tens of thousands of individuals who have been on watch lists that would prevent them from getting a visa.

REPORTER: The US-Visit program cost $1.7 billion. It networks 211 US embassies to 258 US ports of entry.

 

 

Tiny SBC integrates biometrics, Linux
Jun. 01, 2007

U.K.-based startup TriMetrix has announced a tiny single-board computer (SBC) designed for use in devices requiring biometric scanners, including time/attendence, access control, and POS (point-of-sales) equipment. The TMX1000 has a powerful ARM9 processor, and comes with an open-source software stack based on Linux 2.6.

(Click for larger view of the TMX1000)

Spokesperson Quentin Farrow said TriMetrix's goal was to create a tiny board capable of running both application software and biometric software. He said, "Most [biometric module customers] were using an older design SBC, and purchasing a separate OEM module for their biometric application. We [are] offering them an SBC that could [replace both]."

The TMX1000 measures 2.5 x 1.7 x 0.3mm (63 x 42 x 9mm). It is based on a 240MHz ARM9 processor, with a speed increase to 400MHz promised in a future release. The board can be configured with 16MB to 32MB of RAM, and 4MB to 16MB of flash memory onboard.

The TMX1000 appears to have an RJ-45 connector for its 10/100 Ethernet interface; other than that, all I/O is exposed via board-to-wire and board-to-board connectors:
  • Board-to-wire:
    • RS-232 serial
    • RS-485 serial (optional)
    • Weigand
    • 1 x USB host port
    • 1 x USB device port
    • smart card interface
    • audio
    • 4 general purpose I/O lines
  • Board-to-board connector:
    • monochrome and color STN, CSTN, and TFT LCD interface; up to VGA resolution with 16-bit color
    • camera Interface
    • 12 general purpose I/O lines
    • 16 addressable SPI slave ports
    • SD memory card interface
Additionally, according to the company, the TMX1000 interfaces with fingerprint sensors said to include:
  • UPEK T1/T2 (flat flexible cable)
  • Authentec 8600 (flat flexible cable)
  • Atmel Swipe (flat flexible cable)
  • Futronic optical (USB)
  • Algorithm -- Innovatrics (available as standard)
Along with the board, a developer kit was announced, with contents that include a carrier board, embedded development tools, and technical documentation.

Pricing and availability were not disclosed.

 

 

 

I-Cube.   All rights reserved.  Revised: February 18, 2008 .