Department of Defense Awards Multimodal Biometric Contract to Ultra-Scan

In an effort to develop an advanced multimodal biometric recognition system for unsurpassed accurate personnel identification, the Department of Defense (DoD), through the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, has awarded Ultra-Scan Corporation a highly competitive Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Phase II contract. Ultra-Scan, an identity management solutions provider, will partner with industry leaders Viisage, Panasonic and the University at Buffalo's Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors (CUBS) to design a system that will combine multiple biometric technologies to improve positive identification while reducing crossover error rates, or misidentification.

The partnership will seamlessly blend the biometric technology of Viisage's FaceTOOLS SDK, Panasonic and CUBS' with Ultra-Scan's patented Livescan Ultrasonic Identification System (LUIS) technology to create an Automatic Multimodal Biometric Identification System, or AMBIS. LUIS is widely recognized as the most accurate method for personal fingerprint identification and identity management services. The technology uses high frequency sound waves to "see through" dirt, newsprint, hand lotions and other common finger contaminants, guaranteeing unsurpassed accuracy, reliability and ease of use.

The attacks of September 11 highlighted the need to improve the capability for accurate personal identification in a large scale, high volume environment, and the DoD initiated a number of research activities focused on advancing the nation's ability to quickly and correctly identify potential security threats. As a result, multimodal biometric-based recognition emerged as one of the most promising technologies to achieve high confidence in positively identifying individuals without creating throughput delays caused by less accurate and inferior systems.

The goal of the STTR Phase II contract is to design effective data fusion techniques to precisely identify individuals based upon multiple physical characteristics (biometrics). By combining multiple biometric measurements, such as a person's fingerprint, iris pattern, facial features and signature, additional improvements in identification system accuracy and processing speed are possible. This project builds upon an ongoing project awarded to Ultra-Scan from the Army Research Office to develop a biometric identification system that is far more accurate than any existing system today.

The contract was awarded to Ultra-Scan after the successful completion of a Phase I study, where the initiative was to create an optimal method of combining multiple biometric technologies to identify individuals in large-scale identity management programs. For Phase I, Ultra-Scan delivered technology that combined fingerprint, face recognition, iris recognition, and signature analysis to increase accuracy over what is attainable when any of the technologies is used individually. As a result of the superior performance on Phase I, Ultra-Scan was the only company awarded the Phase II contract, with the goal to create an Automatic Multimodal Biometric Identification System suitable for large-scale, high-traffic identification points, such as airports and border crossings.

"Until the completion of the research in Phase I, little scientific data existed to validate the ability to fuse multiple biometric technologies to create a more accurate identification system," said Dr. John K. Schneider, president and founder of Ultra-Scan. "Through Ultra-Scan's initiatives under the STTR program, we have been able to not only substantiate our preliminary results, but devise a truly optimal approach when combining multiple biometrics to ensure the maximum identification performance possible."

As part of the contract, Ultra-Scan will design a prototype recognition system (both hardware and software) that will be able to capture biometric data for positive identification and verification. In order to produce a high confidence multimodal biometric system, Ultra-Scan will partner with the following industry leaders:

-- Viisage - Identity solutions including face recognition technology

"Customers in both government and commercial sectors are seeking more advanced systems to accurately identity people, and the combined solution we are forming through the partnership with Ultra-Scan will demonstrate the power of successfully integrating our two technologies to produce a highly accurate multimodal biometric system," said Mohamed Lazzouni, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief technology officer at Viisage. "We expect these types of solutions to open the door for additional research into many other large-scale deployments and into different applications."

-- Panasonic - Iris recognition technology

"Layering different components of biometrics will deliver the most accurate form of identification and authentication attainable," said Tim Meyerhoff, business development manager, iris recognition at Panasonic. "We view our iris recognition technology to be the perfect complement to the other biometric elements going into this research and development initiative."

-- CUBS - Signature analysis

"The sophistication of the technology being poured into this initiative will inevitably produce a flexible and highly adaptable biometric identification system," said Venu Govindaraju, Ph.D., UB professor of computer science and engineering and director of CUBS. "Combining signature, face, iris and fingerprint recognition will be a significant catalyst to introducing additional applications in the biometric industry surrounding financial and 'point of sale' transactions."

The successful design of a high confidence multimodal biometric system will produce low crossover error rates, while being able to effectively operate in either high volume, low security identification and verification settings, or in high security, low volume identification and verification situations.

Ultra-Scan Corporation is an identity management solutions provider serving the healthcare, government and transportation security, and financial markets. The company is online at