Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Eye Recognition Technology Making Travel Easier

The article “Through Airport Security in the Blink of an Eye” discusses the more advanced iris scanner that the company AOptix has developed which they hope to implement in airports to hasten travel times. What they have developed is a machine that is able to perform iris recognition and facial recognition in as quickly as 8 seconds to register someone in the machine’s database. Once in the database, the machine can find the iris and verify a person standing in front of the machine in as little as 1 second from a distance of about 8 feet away. While traditional iris scanners require people to stand a foot away from the scanner and remain very still, this scanner is gaining traction as it can quickly recognize a person from a longer distance and more quickly.
                The developers of this machine were originally astronomers, and what they developed in the early 2000s was a technology to see how the atmosphere distorted the light that was reaching their telescopes. What they did was shoot a laser through the atmosphere and use a lens that performed 30,000 calculations a second to see what impact the atmosphere was having on the laser beam. What they ended up doing is developing technology that could send a huge amount of information over a reliable wireless connection, and this is the technology that they are using for their iris recognition. The lens is able to reliably and quickly identify each person standing in front of the machine through finding their iris and analyzing it.
                AOptix hopes that by 2020 this technology will be available at major airports across the world to increase travel times. The Dubai International Airport is already currently testing this technology and has seen that immigration wait times have decreased from 49 minutes to about 22 seconds. This would be a great benefit to the travel industry in the United States if the time could be cut down like that, as it sometimes takes upwards of 2 hours to get on a domestic flight, and even longer for international flights. However, there is concern about the safety of this technology. With everyone’s identity stored on the database of this machine, if it were ever hacked people could possibly have their biometric identity stolen. Such privacy issues worry many, as people could easily find a way to use this information to sneak onto flights and pretend to be someone they aren’t. While it takes a long time to currently get on a plane, the reason for this is security and making everyone else is safe. If this technology sacrifices safety to increase speed at airports, it may not be a good idea.
                This technology could not only be beneficial for airports, but could be used anywhere to permit access to verified people in a secure way and at a faster pace. While other travel locations could benefit from this such as train stations, secure government locations and even commercial business could benefit from this technology. This could be used to permit clearance at the Pentagon for verified workers, or be used by large buildings in New York City to verify the workers that are entering the building. Companies could verify employees when they enter and leave to provide a more accurate and efficient way to record payroll. These are just examples of how this technology could be utilized in ways other than in airports as it becomes quicker and easier to verify someone’s identity from the unique data their iris provides.

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  1. I love reading about new technology being implemented to benefit society rather than technology used by companies to increase their revenues. The iris scanner developed by AOptix is a creative and useful approach to time efficiency. According to the AOptix website, the iris scanner will not only prevent identity fraud, but also speed up the boarder crossing for most travelers.

    As someone who is often flying home from school, I would love the idea of quicker security lines. Although, I am afraid airports are taking security to the next level. As full body scans are not bad enough, now they are intending to analyze each persons iris to confirm their identity. I would prefer waiting an extra 20 minutes in line.

    The system of check IDs has been around for decades, and for the most part it has been working. I don’t see the purpose of trying to fix something that does not necessarily need fixing. This just goes to show society’s desire for instant satisfaction. People are so used to getting things when they want it, that waiting in like for 35 minutes is the end of the world.

    Also, why not save the millions of dollars that would be spent on this new technology and invest it in reducing the cost of flights so that people can afford to fly. Prices of flights have been increasing and unless booked several months in advance, it is very difficult to find a bargain.

    I know safety come first, but what about personal safety. I agree completely with the point in the blog about the chance that identities could be hacked from the device. Now all of a sudden one of the problems this technology was intended to solve, has reappeared.

    The new iris scanner from AOptix is an awesome concept but when it boils down to it I am not fully on board. I just hope when I go to fly home for Thanksgiving I am not forced to have my eye analyzed.


  2. The eye recognition software Chris describes is pretty amazing. This machine is great for society and security. It can stop people form using fake passports and sneaking into the country with just a look at their eye. In addition, this machine could help the government find fugitives easily and track people on the terrorism watch list. This machine could help prevent future terrorism attacks by plane. This can also be used in businesses and government agencies to secure access to buildings and rooms. If a company or government database is in a room then this machine could stop people from stealing it by only allowing certain people in.
    The declined wait time could move airports along faster perhaps leading to more outgoing and incoming flights. This could make airlines more money and be overall better for the economy.
    This recognition should also be used at tolls in order to catch fugitives. If people had to scan their eyes at tunnels and on major roadways, then fugitives would not be able to run, or at least not for long.
    I do have some skepticism about this machine. I wonder how well the machine can identify people if they have contacts in or glasses on. Would the machine mistake them for someone else, especially if there is a glare on the glasses? I am also interested in the accuracy rating of the machine. Is it right all of the time or just sometimes. If this new technology is used too much it could be an invasion of privacy. The government can know where you are and what time if they implement this technology in more places.
    If they store all of this information in a database then someone could hack the database and everybody’s personal information would be compromised. Thieves could find pictures of everyone and be able to find everybody in the database. Furthermore, the cost of this device and storing the information would be large. The government is in debt as it is they do not need to spend money on this device.

  3. Recently, Facial recognition seems to be a breakthrough for technology. An Iris recognition scanner takes facial recognition one step further. I think this is amazing and could be a great benefit for the United States. Americans main concern is how they can get things done the easiest and quickest way. If the iris scanner can cut the time someone has to wait in an airport line, I think the American people will be very pleased. Quicker airport procedures may increase people’s desire to fly over other transportation, increasing revenue for airlines. Since their revenues will be increasing maybe airlines could decrease the price of tickets, this will get them more business. By doing so, this will be a good boost for our economy.

    Not only could an iris scanner be used in airports but it could be used in schools, as well as large companies in major cities. Safety of children is a major concern for many parents, especially in today’s crazy world. If an Iris scanner was implemented into schools it would reduce the chance of a criminal coming into the schools as well as make parents at ease when they put their children on the bus and send them off to school. Iris scanners could be implemented into the buildings of major companies to allow access into the building. It could track employees and record their time in and out, which could be beneficial to payroll. They iris scanner would also be able to keep out people it did not recognize to prevent them from access to the company, such as lurking competitors.

    Although Iris recognition could be beneficial to society I do still have my doubts. Technology is far from perfect and can often make mistakes. Can the iris scanner be able to recognize someone if they have colored contacts in or would it throw the whole system off? If so would every person with contacts have to remove them before getting checked? This could be a hassle for people and also increase the time of the process. Another downside is the fact that this one machine can store millions of people’s identity. If someone is able to hack into the machine they could have access to someone’s genetic makeup. This is very worrisome to me because now a days hackers are becoming so advanced and much smarter. If they are able to break into our credit card information from outside a store what makes us think they won’t be able to hack into these machines?

    I do believe that this could very useful for many different businesses. But it all comes down to if people are willing to jeopardize their identity and safety to shorten the time they wait on an airport line. I think people need to stop rushing their lives and instead focus on important things, such as safety.

  4. I think that AOptix’s iris scanner is an amazing technology that can be extremely beneficial to not only airports, but also to the government. I would like to experience this technology firsthand to see how quickly it actually works.

    But there are some negative effects that may arise from this technology. One aspect to consider is whether the scanner will eliminate the need for airport workers. Will this replace the job of a customs officer or TSA agent? Another thing to consider is the possibility of a network failure. What will happen if the wireless connection fails? This would compromise the safety and security of those traveling.

    After researching the advantages and disadvantages of iris recognition, one major benefit that stands out is the high level of accuracy. This can be extremely beneficial with the prevalence of false passports and forms of identification. One drawback is the amount of memory required to store the data. Another negative is the cost of implementing this technology.

    Hopefully the implementation of AOptix’s iris scanners will be more successful than the iris machines that were introduced and eventually removed from the Birmingham and Manchester airports. The iris machines that were used at these airports did not end up being as successful as they were projected to be. Travelers had trouble lining up their eyes with the camera and many passengers found it faster to just have their passport manually inspected.

    Overall, I’m interested to see whether AOptix’s iris scanners end up being successfully implemented in our local airports. As long as safety isn’t sacrificed for speed and convenience, I think it is a good idea.


  5. The AOptix iris recognition technology Chris described is quite a breakthrough product for many different industries. However, I am somewhat weary of the use of this technology as well.

    This article sparks many concerns for me. First of all, this machine can solve many problems in society including that of efficiency. The number one of goal of most businesses today is efficiency, so for this iris recognition technology to combat that concern is very beneficial. The rate people will travel through this process does not seem to be able to be beat by any other airplane customs sections. But, like all technology today, people cannot be naïve to the fact that machines can make mistakes too. And, because this technology can scan an eye so rapidly, I fear that the chance of a mistake being made may be high. The release of this product is not expected to occur until 2020 which gives me a little more hope that any kinks can be worked out of the system before the public gets to experience this system. Also, I wear contacts, so one of my concerns is the difference it would make to my eye if I had contacts in versus out. To use this, would people have to remove their contacts, or can it read an eye regardless? What about for people who go blind or have an eye defect later on in life – would that change the way the technology works for them and what problem might that create? I feel if these questions cannot be answered, then this iris recognition system should not be released yet.

    Next, another one of my concerns would be how every person’s iris will be synced to the system. How will the machine store every person’s iris? Will it only contain people who have a passport or will it have all people in the lookup database? If everyone is listed, what is to say that someone cannot change the system to allow him or her access to a plane without a passport? These are just a few of the questions I would have about the database for the technology. Today, as technology gets more sophisticated, so do hackers who can hijack systems in the blink of an eye. With such important data stored in one place, I fear that, if a system like this were to be compromised, the effects would be detrimental.

    However, even beyond these concerns, I still think that safety is a number one issue to be aware of. Traditionally, a person walks their passport and a backup form of identification to airport personnel who ask personal questions so as to verify that a person is who they appear to be. With AOptix technology, this personal interaction goes away. It may combat the problem of profiling, but there may be instances where a bad guy can slip through a computer when he might not have been able to otherwise. Person to person interaction cannot be imitated by technology and still produce the same effect.

    I look forward to the release of this technology and hope to see the many other uses for it. It can be used in so many different industries, which could benefit many more people than just ones walking through airports. I also hope that by the time this product is released, most of my concerns are answered because I want to feel just as safe walking up to a machine as I do walking up to a person at airport security.

  6. My immediate reaction to your blog on this iris-scanning technology is to be creeped out (please watch the movie Minority Report if you don’t know why this reaction would occur) but after getting over my initial unease, I can easily see the benefit of such technology. In our fast paced world time is a commodity as heavily valued as money, and every time my dad returns from a business trip he complains of the hours wasted in airport security. While any biometric technology employed on such a large scale as all airports properly would be accurate, I would like to turn the attention to another eye-scanning technology of even greater accuracy that may eventually outpace the more commonly used biometrics of today: retinal scanning.
    Compared to other biometric technologies, retinal scanning is the least able to be replicated. Retinal scanning is based on the blood vessel pattern present on the back of the eye, which remains stable throughout the lifetime. Unfortunately retinal scanning requires a minute to get a good scan, and the technology is such that one must remain still while gazing into a beam of light (not exactly a comfortable process in a bustling airport). Once one becomes acclimated, the process speeds up, but retinal scanning has been untested in the commercial world because it often makes people uncomfortable and the software and hardware involved is quite expensive. The rate of false positives is next to nothing and trying to fake one’s way through a retinal scan is nearly impossible though, meaning that if retinal scanning becomes easier and more accessible in the future it could become the biometric technology security relies on. Check out the following links if you’re interested in reading up on this particular biometric technology:

  7. I think that this advancement in airport security procedures will prove to be beneficial. Airports can be stressful, and I think the new iris scanner is a great machine that will greatly improve airports and the process of going through security will be more efficient. I found it interesting that former astronomers developed this machine. Especially since it demonstrates how technology can be inspired by everything around us. The astronomers were working towards the atmosphere and how it affected their telescopes and needed to send a large amount of information over a wireless connection. It is this transfer of information that crosses over the connection that makes the iris scanner possibly. I think this machine demonstrates how useful technology is to our ever-changing world. While there are some technological advancements that I find to be unnecessary, I believe that this scanner will better society.
    Though the concept of an eye scanner to check someone’s identity is not a new concept, I am glad that the scanner is being worked on and improved to make it even more useful and efficient. I understand how there are some doubts about this technology and its safety, however, I do not think that the benefits outweigh the concerns. I know that the machine could be hacked, however, I do not understand how a hacker would be able to sneak onto flights regardless of if they have some one else’s biometric identity. Especially, if these machines were implemented at every airport, it would be hard for someone to get away with impersonating someone else. I am excited to learn more about how this technology advances and evolves. I am hoping that as these machines appear in airports, the benefits of them are seen by society. I wonder how the development for the machines will be funded and how expensive they are. Regardless of the price, I think the benefits they will bring will prove to be worthy of the cost.

  8. Although eye recognition is a great idea to easily facilitate airport check in, I believe it is not necessary. I can see how it can save time in an airport, but going through security scanners and checking bags is where the time gets taken from. I feel that having someone take a look at your passport to match identification does not take that much time.

    I also feel that people may be annoyed with having to go through another technological device at an airport. The full body scanners are enough as it is and I would not want have my eye scanned as well. This is just another way for people to feel violated.

    I also read up to see if there is any harmful effect of eye recognition. If the technology is not designed and used correctly, eye recognition can produce eye damage. How are we to truly know these devices are safe?

    I also do not think the cost would be worth it, especially if the system can be hacked. I read an article that said, “Researchers have for the first time demonstrated how a synthetic iris image could trick an iris-recognition system into believing it the iris of a real person contained in its database, raising fears that iris recognition, acknowledged as one of the most accurate biometric security measures available, may not be as accurate as previously thought.” Reading this made me feel uncomfortable. This is a big risk that can cause a huge problem in airports. If the point is to make sure we are getting into a plane with safe people, knowing this does not help.

    In the end, it is better to have a person check the identity of a person. It saves costs and is the only way we can know that the people walking into an airport are truly themself. Technology is always going to be a risk factor, and we cannot take this risk in airport security.