Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Biometric Imaging Faces a Reality Check

Disscussion Featuring Biometric Imaging and Security Concerns
Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions
Advancements in imaging improve speed, accuracy, and security of biometrics acquisition, enabling improved identification to be included in a host of applications.

By Barry Mazor

Growing international attention has been brought to biometric imaging as security concerns have grown in recent years. When Advanced Imaging visited this sector for roundtable discussion soon after 9/11, the questions concerned ramping up the technology's capability in the face of that urgent sense of interest in the technology. This year, reality checking of these types of systems were implemented — and questions asked about effectiveness. It is time for a fresh discussion.

Selling — and Overselling

Advanced Imaging: Have biometric imaging systems been oversold, with too many promises made? What are the most convincing arguments for adoption now?

Jim Carlson, Lockheed Martin: Biometric imaging comes in many varieties, and exists to meet a broad set of needs. In general, with the advent of quality specifications created by organizations like the FBI and NIST, biometric imaging has matured to useful levels. As the front-end for nearly all biometric identification systems, imaging plays a critical role. Clean precise information must be gathered for these sophisticated solutions to properly function. Lockheed Martin relies on suppliers of certified biometric imaging products to deliver our integrated biometric solutions.

Peter Kalocsai, Pelco: Face recognition, for instance, had definitely been oversold in the past, but probably not today; there seems to be a lot more understanding now of what various biometrics can and cannot do. Rigorous, unbiased testing is one way to find out what a system is capable of doing. The U.S. government — more precisely, NIST — had been testing face recognition systems since 1993, voice systems since 1996, fingerprint recognition since 2000 and the first iris challenge just started in August.

This year, NIST challenged the face recognition community to show a magnitude of improvement (10 times better results) compared with the latest test results in 2002. It seems that several vendors are close to meeting that requirement. In general, it appears that biometric technologies approached a level today where it is hard to doubt their usefulness.

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