An international team of scientists led by USC’s Information Sciences Institute are building enhanced biometric authentication systems.
Research leader Wael Abd-Almageed contends that their new suite of technologies could help thwart would-be malefactors.
In recent years, hackers and criminals alike have grown alarmingly adept at breaking into the some of the best authentication systems found worldwide.
They know how to trick, or ‘spoof’ security systems protected by facial, iris and fingerprint recognition technologies.
And with biometrics – the science of trying to teach computers physical and other traits that can identify people – gone mainstream, such threats have become all the more imminent.
To combat this, Abd-Almageed and his team are building more secure biometric authentication systems that they say are resistant to face, iris and fingerprint security breaches.
“I think our technology could have great humanitarian impact by making people more secure,” said Abd-Almageed, who heads the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) -funded project.
“Everybody’s anticipating that biometrics are going to be the standard way to do many business transactions in the future, from ATMs to border controls to smartphone access. We’re working to detect spoofing and protect lives.”
At a macro level, Abd-Almageed and his team want to build a ‘more robust’ biometric authentication system.
They have already started creating and combining 3D cameras, shortwave infrared sensors, lasers, other imaging devices and AI algorithms together.
“We fuse all the information to provide rich data for the algorithm to give you a much better analysis of somebody’s face, iris and fingerprint,” he said.
Unlike current biometric approaches, Abd-Almageed’s lasers capture blood flow, while shortwave infrared sensors helps distinguish between real skin and a mask made of silicone, paper or any other material.
Such enhanced biometrics could do a much better job of thwarting would-be malefactors than existing scanning technologies.
Image and content: iStock/USC Viterbi School of Engineering