Biometrics 3D sensors instead of passwords


Institutional Communication Service

1 February 2016

Prof. Michael Bronstein e Jan Svoboda, Faculty of Informatics

Movies have been tickling our imagination with increasingly sophisticated technological security devices, from retinal scans to voice recognition. The big screen narrates of spies and heroes getting around complex and evolved surveillance systems but reality unfortunately is far from fiction. So far, biometrics technologies have relied on sensors unable to identify “live infractions”. For example, an intruder could easily bypass checks by literally showing a printed picture of the face of the authorised person.

The use of 3D technology makes it harder to forge someone’s identity, since it will require a detailed facemask of the authorised subject we want to impersonate. 3D technology has not been used until now due to its high costs and large size of the devices, but the progresses made in the field radically decreased the costs and sizes. In the project presented at CeBIT 2016 in Hannover, we used a camera used in several Intel devices, the RealSense F220. Its small size makes it possible to use it in small devices such as the laptop we chose to use. It is a device we are well acquainted with since it was developed in cooperation with other colleagues, and it will be used in the near future in several Intel multimedia applications.

The project aims at filling the existing gap between research and industry, showing how a regular 3D camera, equipped with the right software, can provide reliable applications in the field of biometric identification of the upper body. What is our project about? Imagine opening your laptop and gaining access to your documents with the simple movement of your hand as if you were waving at someone you know, instead of typing the password.

This result is possible thanks to algorithms that enable the hardware to recognise in a very detailed way the differences in the basic geometry of a hand. Similar systems have so far been the subject of lab studies, but it has never picked up from a commercial point of view. When the time will come, and it will not be long, it could be applied to many contexts such as banks, airports and forensic. Our body’s digital scan, also known as biometry, will open the doors to this yet unexplored and delicate field of security, allowing informatics to serve once more as the mediator between ourselves, and the way we lead our lives.