UK’s first portable iris scanner

Details of the UK’s first portable iris scanning and verification system have been released by manufacturers xVista.

Jun 2, 2006
By David Howell
Neil Corbel

Details of the UK’s first portable iris scanning and verification system have been released by manufacturers xVista.

Offering potential security applications across commercial markets including mobile telecoms, consumer electronics, banking and aviation as well as potential military and law enforcement use, the system is the first iris scanning system that can be housed within compact, low power computing systems such as the standard camera mobile phone.

Developed through a £1.8m, six-year partnership with the University of Sussex, the technology is designed to securely map the iris for individual characteristics. The iris is first registered on to a central database creating a template that can be checked against all further scans to verify the user’s identity.

With the chances of two separate human irises matching approximately one in seven billion, it offers the very highest level of security available against identity fraud and has potential applications within passport control, financial transactions and mobile phone security.

The system is capable of running from any low power computing device or camera-equipped mobile phone. A standard, 256Mb mobile phone memory card will be able to hold over 250,000 separate iris templates and from a database of one million irises, it will take less than one second for it to verify an individual iris.

Karlis Obrams, Managing Director of xVista said: “The xVista technology performs a similar task to the traditional signature, photograph or pin number in confirming an individual’s identity, but is far more reliable. The fact that the system can run from portable devices like the mobile phone and SIM card opens up fantastic potential for its use, making it far more effective than other scanning systems that are usually bulky and limited to fixed points.

“Using an airport as an example, the xVista system can be deployed across all members of a security team in a discreet handheld device, enabling staff to know within seconds whether a pilot, crew member or baggage handler is who they say they are, offering peace of mind against threats such as identity theft and terrorism.”

Chris Jenkinson DDA Technology Diversification Manager for Yorkshire and Humberside said: “xVista offers an innovative, novel approach to the growing area of biometric security with a simple and cost effective solution. From a military point of view this could find prospective application in many access control scenarios – for verifying access to secure locations, classified data or military vehicles and equipment.”

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