Monday, November 29, 2010

Ears could replace passport photos

A team of researchers at the University of Southampton in England have figured out a new way to calculate the ear measurements from a picture. The technology is able to identify an ear with 99.6 per cent accuracy.

Mark Nixon, a professor of computer vision & head of the team, says "This kind of measurement and recognition may very well be used on passports or to supplement fingerprint, facial or iris recognition in the years to come."

Because of their consistency and uniqueness, ears are a good yardstick for identification. When you’re born, your ears are fully formed and they don’t change over time. 

"Take the case of babies who need passports. Their ears stay constant whereas their faces rapidly change. Wouldn’t it be smarter to take a picture of their ears and have their measurements on file to compare the two?" says Nixon. 

He also adds, "When I’m in an airport, I have to show my passport and boarding card a million times. If you could cut that down, it would make flying a lot more convenient."

This method is imperfect as the others though. Bad lighting and hair covering the ears can hamper ear identification. 

(Via The Star)

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