CHATSWORTH, Calif. -- IRIS International, Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of automated IVD urinalysis systems and medical devices used in hospitals and reference clinical laboratories worldwide, today announced that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded second year funding to the Company's Advanced Digital Imaging Research (ADIR) subsidiary for the "3-D Face Recognition for Airport Security Screening" program. NIST performs periodic progress evaluations and has decided to continue funding the project based on ADIR's progress to date.
In May 2004, ADIR received a grant of nearly $2 million from the NIST for the development of "3-D Face Recognition for Airport Security Screening." The three-year grant requires annual approval of each year's funding based on meeting certain performance milestones. The recent amendment releases $580,465 to support the second year of the three-year project.
Under the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) grant, ADIR is developing 3-D face recognition technology intended to provide convenient and unobtrusive personal identification for air travelers and for personnel who work in secure environments. The three-year study is being carried out in conjunction with academic collaborators at The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and Indiana University. Dr. Kenneth Castleman, President of ADIR, is the Principal Investigator on the project.
ADIR has completed construction of a prototype access control system, which is considered a step toward the creation of an effective airport security screening system. The prototype system automatically captures three-dimensional images and uses a first generation facial matching algorithm. This first product opportunity targets access control applications where a cooperative subject whose 3D image has been loaded into a database is identified while passing by a designated access point. Although the results are encouraging so far, testing has been limited to an enrollment of some of the Company's employees, and the results are insufficient to reach statistically significant conclusions about performance in an operational setting. Under terms of the grant, third party human testing procedures must be approved by NIST. ADIR has requested approval for this type of experiment, but the protocol and timetable have not yet been established.
"We are encouraged by the results obtained on this project to date," stated Dr. Kenneth Castleman, President of ADIR. "It moves us toward a very workable solution to the problems of airport screening and access control, but there remains much to be done."
ADIR plans to perform a series of staged trials that will progressively challenge the system's capabilities as a practical 3-D face recognition system for airport security screening. This research approach is similar to the phased testing pharmaceutical companies use to qualify new drugs, where success at the first stage does not guarantee success at subsequent stages.
Cesar Garcia, President and Chief Executive Officer of IRIS said, "This project, if successful, will make important contributions to the safety of our nation, and we are privileged to be part of this effort. A successful implementation of this product would add a new dimension to our future potential."