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New Notre Dame Research Raises Questions About Iris Recognition Systems

Ken Bowyer

Ken Bowyer

Credit: Notre Dame University

Since iris recognition technologies were first developed, it has been assumed that a person's iris remained stable over their lifetime, which is known as “one enrollment for life.” However, Notre Dame University researchers have found that the iris is subject to an aging process that causes recognition performance to degrade over time.

"Our experimental results show that, in fact, the false non-match rate increases over time, which means that the single enrollment for life idea is wrong," says Notre Dame's Kevin Bowyer.

The false non-match rate is how often a system finds that two images are not a match even when they are from the same person. The researchers say they analyzed a large data set with more images acquired over a longer period of time than ever before. Bowyer notes the results of the study should not be viewed as a negative for iris recognition technologies and security systems going forward.

"Once you have admitted that there is a template effect and have set up your system to handle it appropriately in some way, it is no longer a big deal," he says.

The iris template aging effect will only be a problem for those who refuse to believe it exists, Bowyer adds.

From Notre Dame News
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