The Future of ID: Ear Scanning
The fingertip has long been the most effective way of identifying someone, but emerging research in biometrics could move the focus away from the hand to the outer ear.
In a recently published paper first covered by Help Net Security, researchers from the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, England demonstrated an effective method of identifying people by scanning the contours of their outer ear.
The study, which used a sample size of 252 images, proved to be 99.6 percent effective in providing an accurate identification by ear.
Identification by ear worked so well for the researchers in part because the ear is relatively immune to variation due to aging, wrote the authors of the new paper, titled "A Novel Ray Analogy for Enrolment [sic] of Ear Biometrics."
The ear also makes a good candidate for biometric identification because the imaging they used was able to focus solely on the ear while ignoring other facial features, the paper explained.
The researchers plan to run further tests to enhance their ear imaging technology to see if it can be used the same way fingerprint identification technology is today.