SRI International showcases its iris recognition technology at ISC West

April 4, 2014
Ease of use and high throughput rates make this biometric a popular choice

As more and more organizations seek answers to their weak identification management and credentialing problems, biometric technology is enjoying a resurgence as a mainstream security solution. But in the pecking order of preferred methods, iris recognition has emerged as a technology of choice for many enterprise and critical infrastructure facilities.

There have been some issues among potential adopters of the technology, who occasionally confuse iris recognition with retinal scanning. Iris recognition however is a simple process of capturing a picture of the iris; it is this picture that is used solely for authentication.

For Mark Clifton, SRI International’s vice president of products and services division, there is no mystery why biometrics in general and iris recognition in particular, have become the predominant method of verifying identification. “The barriers for adopting a biometric solution –especially those for iris recognition have been eliminated,” he said, standing in his booth during Thursday’s second day of the ISC West 2014 conference in Las Vegas. “The negative aspects of iris that included ease of use and the high cost of implementation have been addressed and for the most part, eliminated.”

Clifton pointed out that the false acceptance rate, which is the probability that an identification system incorrectly matches the biometric input pattern to a non-matching template in its database, has improved for almost every available biometric. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, fingerprints had a false acceptance rate of approximately eight percent; facial recognition was about five percent; hand geometry was two percent; and iris pattern recognition was one percent. Clifton added that in an increasingly tense post 9/11 world, where precise identification is vital, iris recognition is by far the most precise means to get that mission accomplished.

“Within the last several years, new technology has overcome the barriers to entry that challenged the use of iris pattern recognition as a tool for verifying identification. Previously, almost all iris identification systems required that the individual get within a few inches of the imaging device, almost forcing the eye to touch the camera” said Clifton “So the user had to be highly cooperative, as this functional space violated most personal comfort zones. These systems were not easy to use.”

But SRI’s introduction of Iris on the Move (IOM) iris recognition systems early last year has eliminated that issue, allowing these systems to access iris patterns from up to 10 feet away and at very high throughput rates.

Portal-type versions of Iris on the Move have processing speeds of 1,800 people per hour, making them ideal for locations such as airports, security checkpoints and other applications that require uncompromising identity verification for large numbers of people.

“The technology requires limited subject interaction and is unobtrusive and eye safe. All that is required from an individual is a glance to identify his or her iris. Capture is secure through eyeglasses, contact lens and most sunglasses,” Clifton said.

Clifton cited several key factors that have helped spur the growth of iris recognition. His list included:

  • Stability - the unique pattern in the human iris is formed by 10 months of age, and remains unchanged throughout one's lifetime
  • Uniqueness - the probability of two rises producing the same code is nearly impossible
  • Flexibility - iris recognition technology easily integrates into existing security systems or operates as a standalone
  • Reliability - a distinctive iris pattern is not susceptible to theft, loss or compromise
  • Non-Invasive nature - unlike retinal screening, iris recognition is non-contact and quick, offering unmatched accuracy when compared to any other security alternative, from distances as far as three to 10 inches.

Products that SRI International had on display at ISC West this year included its IOM PassPort, which is a proven iris image, capture system that quickly images the iris of a person in motion and at comfortable distances. The technology combines the extraordinary accuracy of iris recognition with the speed and convenience of a pass-through system.

While other iris scanning technologies require users to stop or stare directly into a scanner, IOM technology works differently. It uses Sarnoff’s patented and cutting edge vision technologies to verify identities at speeds of up to thirty people per minute, allowing subjects to walk through the system at a standard pace, without stopping to look into a scanner.

The new second generation IOM PassPort is now available as a modular and reconfigurable system that has been redesigned to be even more thin and sleek, with a smaller overall footprint.

“It’s more important than ever to have a choice in how security systems are encountered by users,” said Clifton. “We designed the next generation IOM PassPort to be extensively configurable and less obtrusive, so buyers can receive super fast, easy-to-use, and reliable identity verification in a way that makes sense for their particular environment.”

The next generation IOM PassPort system is available in two base configurations, with or without a knee wall and with or without illuminator cabinet covers.  Each configuration can then be further customized for maximum set-up flexibility.

The IOM RapID-Cam II handheld biometric system is also on display. It is ruggedized, handheld device that allows for simple biometric enrollment and identification anywhere in the field. The RapID-Cam II camera can capture dual-iris and facial images up to eighteen inches away—putting a comfortable distance between the user and the subject.

Operation is easy and requires only one hand. Once subjects are enrolled, the system performs identity verification in less than a second. The unit is completely self-contained. Its built-in wireless connectivity with automatic or on-demand synchronization ensures that the latest data is always available in the home office and in the field.

When it comes to an access control compatible device, the IOM N-Glance modular system is an option. The modular identity-verification system allows users to network any number of iris readers to enforce secure access throughout a facility or campus.

SRI also offers a drive-up biometric system which brings the security of iris recognition to vehicle entry points. This breakthrough iris recognition system extends the use of identity authentication to the perimeter.

Easy-to-use and automated, the IOM PassThru biometric system can efficiently replace RFID cards, passcodes, or security guards while adding the ability to know exactly who has just entered the gate. Unlike cards or passcodes, a person’s iris cannot be shared. Access is granted only to a specific individual, not to someone else with that person’s card, password, or fraudulent documentation.

The PassThru iris biometric system performs well in indoor and outdoor lighting conditions, regardless of time of day, sun position, or shadows. The fast and easy identity verification process works with drivers in vehicles of various heights—from small coupes to large pickup trucks.

SRI also displayed it flexible biometric system for identity authentication and access control in high-throughput applications. The IOM PassPort SL product leverages the free flow and proven performance of Iris on the Move (IOM) technology with the flexibility of a modular walk-through design.

Customers can easily integrate SRI’s unique face capture and iris recognition components directly into their own turnstiles, infrastructures, or entrances. The versatile configuration minimizes changes in existing operational procedures or hardware.

About the Author

Steve Lasky | Editorial Director, Editor-in-Chief/Security Technology Executive

Steve Lasky is a 34-year veteran of the security industry and an award-winning journalist. He is the editorial director of the Endeavor Business Media Security Group, which includes the magazine's Security Technology Executive, Security Business, and Locksmith Ledger International, and the top-rated website He is also the host of the SecurityDNA podcast series.Steve can be reached at [email protected]