Stanley stakes its claim in iris biometrics

Las Vegas, NV (April 7, 2011) -- Just off the show floor, amid the corporate meeting rooms and session tracks being held at ISC West 2011, Stanley CSS was holding a feast for your eyes -- or to be even more accurate, a feast for your iris.

The firm announced a partnership with iris recognition technology firm Hoyos Corporation whereby Stanley CSS will serve as the exclusive distributor for Hoyos in the U.S. and in Europe. The solution is one of iris recognition, but forget what you think of as iris recognition. With Hoyos' solution, iris recognition doesn't mean pressing your face up to an iris scanner. Instead, the key part of Hoyos' pitch is that iris recognition technology can work on the go, in high-throughput environments, processing up to 50 persons a minute according to Stanley CSS' Tony Byerly.

Using a megapixel camera mounted in a reader that has special near infrared lights, the system can capture and enroll your iris patterns in just a few seconds. The hardware here is fairly unobtrusive, and the camera/reader can be mounted on a pedestal at eye level in conjunction with a turnstile access point, or as Stanley CSS and Hoyos were demonstrating, it can even be mounted over a door portal, quite a few feet above and away from the subject. The chief benefit again is throughput; rather than walking up to a reader mounted on a wall a few feet from the door, the technology can be integrated into standard walking entrance patterns, requiring the user to simply glance up at the imager/reader as they enter.

Byerly noted that from a customer perspective, this is about as non-intrusive as you can get for biometric-based area access. Users testing out the system at ISC West were enrolled without their eyeglasses and without earrings, but when using the system for entry control, eye glasses and even sunglasses could be worn without causing the system difficulty (polarized sunglasses apparently are the only type of glasses that can cause problems). To demonstrate the system, visitors lined up and walked steadily through the entryway, and the system easily recognized each person, granting access permission by name as the persons in the line moved fairly quickly under the doorway.

Hoyos was also showing other form factors in addition to the larger portal reader units. On display was an iris recognition reader not much larger than a set of safety goggles, and on the way was a USB-connected unit that could be used for iris-based network or even secure website access at home or at your desk.

Byerly said that Stanley CSS was aware of the throughput and accuracy challenges that some biometric applications had faced in the past, and said that rigorous vetting of this iris recognition system was conducted by Stanley before they signed on as the exclusive U.S. and European distributor. One of the factors that won Stanley over, said Byerly, was the low rate of false positives and false negatives they found in the system, especially when compared to biometric technologies like fingerprint recognition that his firm had tested in the past.

Byerly said the system was already used at the headquarters of one major U.S. bank, where it had effectively replaced card access.