Iris reader on the move

SRI Sarnoff says it’s dispelling fears of iris biometrics
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

MENLO PARK, Calif.—Saying that his company is helping to dispel fears of iris biometrics, SRI International Sarnoff’s Steve Piro showed the company’s iris readers, an on-the-move solution and a handheld solution at an AMAG Security Engineering Symposium in early March.

“Other solutions require you to get up close and personal [with the reader],” said Piro, business development director for SRI, which is based here.

SRI’s solutions, however, work at some distance—a couple of meters for the walk-by solution—and the initial capture of the iris biometric can be achieved without the individual having to put their face up against the capture device. Throughput is high, Piro said. The walk-by solution can accommodate 30 people per minute.

The solutions run about $2,800 for the stationary readers and $20,000 for the handheld, but the prices have come down substantially, Piro said. Plus, the “administration and recurring ownership cost is extremely low.”

And, he said, next to retinal scans, iris biometrics is the most accurate, with a failure rate of 1 in 131,000. By comparison, according to Piro, hand vein fails 1.5 times per 1,000; the fingerprint failure rate is 2 per 1,000; voice, 2 per 100; and facial recognition is 3 per 100. In a demo at the AMAG event, the iris reader was able to read the iris of an individual wearing tri-focal sunglasses.

SRI’s solution has been implemented at an athletic facility at Auburn University, which previously had hand geometry readers. “But hand geometry changes with temperature,” Piro said. And that was the case with basketball players and others after games and practices, he said.

The solution also has been implemented by the U.S. Army, at a data center for a cruise line in Florida, and in Mexico for border protection.