The Iris Scan: Cutting Edge Innovation in Modern Biometric Security

As biometrics slowly become more and more adopted as the preferred form of security over conventional identification and authentication mechanisms, new advancements bring new ways to use your body to verify yourself.

The latest innovation is the iris Recognition, which as you can guess uses the eye’s iris for a highly secure form of identification that is extremely difficult to steal, copy or hack. But how does this technology work? and where is it being used right now? Find out in this blog on this latest piece of technology.

Biometrics for Security

In the old days, the only way of getting access to a secure system was to provide some form of password or pin code. The level of security of this form of authentication was dependent on how complex the account holder could make it. Since they had to basically be remembered all the time, most people tend to keep them on the simpler side.

On a similar note, the only way to identify yourself used to be physical documentation provided to an official upon request. These documents were similarly dependent on the user’s own volition in carrying them around to be used when needed. They are also notoriously easy to be copied, faked or stolen.

In the modern world, the biometric markers unique to each and every individual provide the perfect replacement for these methods. Now, you can use things like your face, fingerprint, and importantly here, your eyes for these purposes. Being intrinsically linked to the individual themselves, they provide a much higher level of security, protected from most methods of manipulation or hacking.

Iris Scanning Technology

Iris scanning technology even in biometrics is one of the most accurate and the most secure forms of authentication and identification. It involves scanning the iris, which is the colored part of the eye, to find the unique patterns that form inside of it.

In the first step, a high resolution image is taken using a biometric iris scanner, which is a specialized camera that is equipped with infrared light. Using infrared light helps to reduce the chances of reflections from the cornea, and allows capturing the intricate patterns of the iris in very high detail.

Next, basic processing of the captured image is performed to prepare it for further manipulation. This includes things like size adjustment, mapping the iris to a rectangular representation and so on.

In the next step, features of the iris are extracted. This usually involves analyzing the texture, patterns and structure of the iris to generate a distinctive digital representation, known as a biometric template, that can be further processed and compared.

Now that the system has something to work with. It will use the created template to compare to a set of similarly created and stored templates. This could be in a local set of faces, or a cloud based database. Then, based on the use case, the system will either allow or disallow access, or provide some matching record from the database for identification.

The Advantages of Iris Scans

Iris scan technology offers many benefits, even over many biometric forms of security and authentication. This makes them highly useful for many use cases. Some of these benefits are:

  • Uniqueness: The information collected during an iris scan is highly unique to each and every individual. The patterns of the iris do not match even in identical twins. This combined with the special iris scanner tech that is required to collect the data means that it is highly difficult to steal and/or spoof this data.
  • Stability: Both the dimensions and the characteristic patterns of the iris do not vary or change as we age, and remain stable for the entire lifetime of a person. This means that a single scan can work for years and years as an accurate and stable form of identification of the individual, free from any change or deviation over your life.
  • Ease and Flexibility: Contrary to what you might think, modern technology has made scanning an iris relatively quite easy nowadays. Advances in camera and scanner tech mean that an iris scan can be performed in some cases from up to 30-40 feet away.
  • Accuracy: Because of all of the above mentioned reasons, the accuracy rates of iris scans are some of the highest even among biometric security mechanisms. They boast some of the lowest false acceptance and false rejection rates in currently available technology.

Closing Thoughts

The exceptionally high level of security and accuracy provided by iris scan authentication and identification mean that they both are and can be used in some of the most high-security environments currently possible, including military, government security and financial systems. Combining this form of recognition with advanced facial recognition and liveness detection can create a highly secure multi-modal biometric security system that would be secure from nearly all forms of unauthorized access and illicit use.

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