Minority Report-Style Police Tool For Iris Or Face Recognition

Sunday, July 17, 2011
By Paul Martin

How a New Police Tool for Face Recognition Works

By Emily Steel
WSJ.com

Police forces across the country are planning to start using new mobile technology later this year that can identify suspects and instantly reveal their criminal history based on a picture of their face or iris, the colored portion of an eye.

Here’s how it works: To scan a person’s iris, police officers can hold the special iris-scanning camera on device, called MORIS, about 5 to 6 inches away from an individual’s irises. After snapping a high resolution photo, the MORIS system analyzes 235 unique features in each iris and uses an algorithm to match that person with their identity if they are in the database.

For the facial recognition, an officer takes a photo of a person at a distance of about 2 feet to 5 feet. Based on technologies from Animetrics Inc., the system analyzes about 130 distinguishing points on the face, such as the distance between a person’s eye and nose. It then scans the database for likely matches.

The MORIS, which stands for Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System, also includes a small metallic rectangle to scan fingerprints.

The MORIS device goes beyond technology already in use by some local law-enforcement agencies. In Pinellas County, Fla., the sheriff’s office uses digital cameras to take pictures of people, download the pictures to laptops, then use facial-recognition technologies to search for matching faces.

The Rest…HERE

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