Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo


Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

OmniPerception’s technology creates a PIN about 2,500 digits long from its analysis of the most distinctive features of a person’s face. The number is embedded in a smart card-such as those, say, that grant access to a building-and used to verify that the card belongs to the person presenting it. A user would place his or her card in or near a reader and face a camera, which would take a photo and feed it to the card. The card would then compare the PIN it carried to information it derived from the new photo and either accept or reject the person as the rightful owner of the card. The technology could also be used to ensure passport or driver’s license authenticity and to secure ATM or Internet banking transactions, says McIntosh.

The key differences between the various face recognition systems hitting the market reside mainly in the algorithms that create digital code from their analysis of faces. Kittler says his algorithms require less computation, allowing all the processing to happen on the card, instead of in an external computer, which results in nearly instantaneous identity verification. Fast processing would be particularly useful at, for example, a busy airport or ATM.

Biometrics companies typically validate their technologies by participating in competitions that test their accuracy at identification. OmniPerception won a European competition last year but has yet to go head-to-head with more prominent U.S. players in the field’s premier competition, which is sponsored by the U.S. government. And it must also contend with more established biometric techniques-namely fingerprinting.

Even so, with plans to demonstrate its technology this year to U.S. passport authorities, British and U.S. driver’s-license agencies, and security companies worldwide, OmniPerception believes it has a head start toward the future of face recognition.

Others in Facial Recognition
A4Vision (Cupertino, CA) 3-D facial recognition for access control and surveillance
Acsys Biometrics (Burlington, Ontario) Neural-network facial recognition for building and border access control
Identix (Minnetonka, MN) Facial-feature analysis for access control and surveillance
Viisage (Littleton, MA) “Eigenface” technology for access control and surveillance

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Computing

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives


Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me