Biometrics turns inward, shifts security focus to knees

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

SOUTHFIELD, Mich.—While biometrics is often associated with fingerprints, iris recognition and voice identification, a new trend could involve identifying people by their kneecaps, according to EurekaAlert, an online science news service.

Just as our eyes and fingerprints are unique to us, so too are our kneecaps. Computer scientist Lior Shamir of Lawrence Technological University, based here, has demonstrated how a knee scan can be used to single us out.

Shamir tested the approach and achieved an accuracy rate of about 93 percent. A knee scan, coupled with other biometrics or factors such as the possession of a valid passport, could be used to prevent deception and fraud, according to the news release. Once mastered, it may even be more reliable than iris detection, which can be foiled by contact lenses.

"Deceptive manipulation requires an invasive and complicated medical procedure, and therefore it is more resistant to spoofing compared to methods such as face, fingerprints or iris," Shamir said in the release. “It would be almost impossible to fake one's internal body parts including the kneecaps.”

Shamir added that ensuing studies will further “develop the concept of internal biometrics, and will lead to automatic identification methods that are highly resistant to spoofing.”