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Eye-Recognition Security Software Advances

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Identifying people by taking pictures of their eyes is becoming easier with iris recognition software producing very rapid results, a U.S. report indicated.

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology evaluated the performance of such software from 11 different organizations and found that some techniques produced very rapid results — though this speed was sometimes at the cost of accuracy, an NIST release said Wednesday.

NIST evaluated 92 different biometric identification algorithms from nine private companies and two university labs, all of which submitted software to an open competition organized by the NIST.

The test was for the algorithms to identify individuals from a database of eye images taken from more than 2.2 million people.

“If, for example, you are trying to pick out a fugitive who is trying to cross a national border, you need to know your software can identify that person from among millions of records,” Patrick Grother, a scientist in NIST’s Information Access Division, said.

“This ability to pick out a ‘needle in a haystack’ quickly and accurately is crucial, and we found some algorithms can search a haystack thousands of times larger than others.”

Success rates ranged between 90 and 99 percent among the algorithms, meaning that no software was perfect but improvement is being made, researchers said.

“When combined with the feedback that this study provides to the industry and the use of the iris in combination with other biometrics, the findings will push accuracy toward 100 percent,” Grother said.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

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