Biometric Modalities Evolving at a Fast Pace

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You may not have noticed, but the biometrics identification industry is growing. Fast. As a fervid biometrics news curator, I am particularly in tune with stories about biometric identification technology deployments across the globe and new biometric modalities that could potentially have an impact on the market. A story came across the wire yesterday that caught my attention which I wanted to share.

Computer scientist Lior Shamir has developed a technology that uses MRI scanners to scan the legs of people as they pass by. He published a research paper in the International Journal of Biometrics detailing the results of his research. Studying the use of knee MRI images of 2,686 different patients as a form of biometric identification, analyzed using the wndchrm image classification scheme, he concluded that:

“Experimental results show that the rank-10 identification accuracy using the MRI knee images is ~93% for a dataset of 100 individuals, and ~45% for the entire dataset of 2,686 persons.”

Although that statistic drops to 45% for the entire dataset of 2,686 people, Mr. Shamir has proven that  internal organs imaged with biomedical imaging devices can also allow biometric identification of individuals.

It should be noted that Mr. Shamir also pointed out in his research paper that since MRI images “are used for the purpose of imaging internal parts of the body, this approach of biometric identification can potentially offer high resistance to deception,” meaning that the likelihood of this potential modality reaching the point where it could be feasibly deployed is highly unlikely.

What should be noted though is that researchers and scientists are increasingly uncovering new and fresh ways to capture and identify people through their biometric information. Just in the last few years, we have seen advances in new biometric modalities like gait, gesture, heartbeat, ears, body odor, even using the soles of your shoes for identification (Wired magazine actually published an article today entitled – 11 Body Parts Defense Researchers Will Use to Track You that’s worth a read). Computer game manufacturers have already introduced innovative new biometric features to their gaming consoles that track and capture end user nuances as part of the interactive experience. Even biometric law enforcement applications continue to evolve, demonstrated by the recent announcement of “biometric handcuffs” that can automatically deliver shocks and injections to unruly detainees.

Innovation and creativity continue to be hallmarks of the biometrics research and development community and we can expect to see new and different biometric modalities sprouting up in the biometric industry as we move ahead through 2013 and beyond. What is important to remember is that whether you support the biometrics industry or are opposed to it, clearly biometric identification will play a part in your life (if it has not already) in the years to come. The question is, which biometric modality will it be?

What other types of biometric identification modalities do you expect to see in the future? Please share them with us in the comments.

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John Trader

John Trader is the Public Relations and Marketing Manager with M2SYS Technology, a recognized industry leader in biometric identity management technology. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA M2SYS Technology's mission is to pioneer the high-tech industry by delivering long-term value to customers, employees and partners through continued innovation and excellence in all aspects of our business. M2SYS continues to innovate, build and bring to market leading-edge biometrics solutions that revolutionize the industry and expand the applicability of biometrics technology in our marketplace. You can view their Web site at or contact them via e-mail at

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