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Surveillance to Tackle Challenge of Security
October 1, 2007

Identifying a terrorist traveling incognito among passengers in a crowded, busy airport can be a security challenge akin to looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

An Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) professor has received a $300,000 military grant to develop a video surveillance system for homeland security that uses a biometrics technique – iris recognition – to identify suspects seeking to avoid detection.

Yingzi (Eliza) Du, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI is one of 33 recipients of the prestigious 2007 Office of Naval Research Young Investigators award.

Under a three-year Young Investigators award project titled “Selective Feature Based Iris Recognition for Non-cooperative User Identification,” Prof. Du will research and design software that would make it possible to monitor and identify terrorists and other criminals covertly in real time using the patterns of the irises of their eyes.

Such iris recognition “provides a new means for surveillance and terrorist watch. It is expected to have a significant impact on the military, homeland security, and intelligence, such as border control, monitoring insurgent/terrorist/criminal activities, and remotely identifying people,” explains Prof. Du, whose research expertise areas include biometrics, digital image processing, pattern recognition, and their many and various applications.

The use of biometrics – fingerprints, face patterns, and eye or iris patterns – is quickly becoming more convenient and secure as compared to traditional methods of identification and verification imperative to security, intelligence, law enforcement and e-commerce.

Because the patterns of each of a person’s irises are unique, iris recognition is the most accurate and reliable of form of popular biometrics identification.

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