Did you know your ears are as unique as fingerprints?
"There are a whole load of structures in the ear that you can use to get a set of measurements that are unique to an individual."
In addition, since ears age "gracefully," Professor Nixon says, you don't have potential aging issues that can affect facial recognition systems, for example.
The Telegraph says that Professor Nixon and his team "tested 252 images of different ears and found the system was able to match each ear to a separate image held in its database with 99 per cent accuracy."
In comparison, in 2008, researchers at the University of Glasgow claimed they had developed algorithms that achieved 100% facial recognition. I don't know if that technology has been proven in practice.
The professor believes that scanning ears could pose less of an issue than using facial or retinal recognition systems where many people need to be checked quickly, such as at airports. The UK Identity and Passport Service has been piloting facial recognition at Stansted Airport since 2008, the paper says.
There must be something about ears and biometrics security at the University of Southampton.
Last year, I blogged about attempts at the University of Southampton to use a person's ear noise as a biometric recognition approach. No word on how that research is going.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.