By Mohammed Murad
Thanks to Hollywood, iris recognition technology has gotten the reputation of being a highly futuristic invasive technology. Movies like “Blade Runner” (1982) and “Minority Report” (2002) depict the technology as physically and mentally intrusive. The truth is much more mundane and wouldn’t provide anywhere near the sizzle most sci fi aficionados expect.
It’s simply a photo of your eye
In fact, iris recognition technology is as simple as having a photograph taken of your eyes. The process involves standing 30 centimeters (a little less than a foot) to 1.2 meters (a less than four feet) from a camera to take a video of your eyes. There are no beams of lights or lasers involved.
The enrollment process takes about two seconds and authentication — once you have been enrolled –takes less than that. Handheld devices used in the field allow for the same quick and easy process.
Another feature that makes iris recognition simpler is that it is contactless. That means you don’t have to come into physical contact with any device. This eliminates the fear of passing pathogens from one person to another. In a COVID-19 world that’s important. Digital keypad, access cards and standard fingerprint technology all require contact. Sanitizing devices after each use is cumbersome and nearly impossible.
It works with gloves, glasses, masks and scarves
Another thing that make iris recognition so easy is that it can read your iris without you having to remove accessories or personal protective equipment you might be wearing. It can authorize you if you’re wearing gloves and it also works with glasses, goggles, face masks and head scarves or niqabs.
It’s safe and secure
After a digital video of the eyes has been taken the best picture is selected and it is converted to an encrypted digital template. Then it’s saved as a 512-byte file. This template is stored , and it cannot not be reverted back to an image. It provides a high level of protection against identity fraud.
So, at the risk of dashing your Hollywood vision of iris recognition as a futuristic, space-age technology, it’s just a very simple, reliable process. It’s about as easy as having your DMV or passport photo taken. And even better, there’s no embarrassing photo afterwards.
(Mohammed Murad is vice president, global sales and business development, Iris ID)