NUI Galway Technology to Support US Intelligence Project

Full fingerprint diagram. Photo: Compact Imaging
Jun 28 2017 Posted: 09:49 IST

NUI Galway partner, Compact Imaging, teams with SRI International for development of improved detection of attempts to evade or deceive biometric security systems, such as fingerprint identification scanners

NUI Galway and its partner Compact Imaging, Inc. (CI) announced this week that SRI International (SRI) has selected its technology as a critical component in the development of ‘dynamic biometrics’ for improved detection of attempts to evade or deceive biometric security systems, such as fingerprint scanners. The development is being performed under a multi-year contract awarded to SRI as part of the US Government’s IARPA’s (Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, National Intelligence Directorate) Odin Program. 

The goal of the Odin Program is to develop advanced technologies to detect ‘presentation attacks’, as attempts to deceive biometric security systems are often called. Conventional biometrics, such as fingerprint, iris and face, rely on static surface images of human tissue. The case for improved presentation attack detection is clear. According to the Department of Homeland Security, in 2015 the US Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) processed nearly 400 million people entering the US, almost 40 million of whom required a “secondary inspection” because of suspicious behaviour or adverse information in the primary screening process.

Compact Imaging's breakthrough MRO™ (Multiple Reference OCT) brings well-established, non-invasive, OCT (optical coherence tomography) imaging to high volume field applications that require small size and low cost, such as biometric security systems for identity authentication. MRO directly detects fake fingerprints, determines liveness and images tissue in depth to reveal sub-dermal fingerprints. These sub-dermal fingerprints, which can be collected from wet, worn or dry fingers, lie securely below the surface fingerprints that make up today’s biometric databases.

Under the Odin Program, SRI is researching innovative dynamic biometrics systems and techniques to dramatically improve the presentation attack detection capabilities of biometric systems by imaging, measuring and analyzing real-time physiological responses of living tissue to external and internal stimuli. By analyzing such factors as changes in heart rate, perspiration and blood flow, the system will reliably detect whether these tissues are real or being faked. Compact Imaging’s MRO™ technology, which uses optical means to rapidly and non-invasively create depth images of human tissue, will play a key role in the suite of dynamic biometrics techniques SRI is developing.

This project will capitalise on rapid advances in Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), the world’s fastest growing medical imaging technology. The work is supported by the Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging (TOMI) group at NUI Galway. The correlation mapping OCT algorithm provides the most secure approach to fingerprint biometrics, by imaging the pattern of tiny blood vessels which supply the fingerprint.

Initial demonstrations of MRO’s sub-dermal fingerprint imaging capabilities were conducted in part in Ireland at Compact Imaging’s research collaboration with NUI Galway, a globally-recognised leader in OCT imaging of the micro-vasculature. The collaboration was initiated in 2012 and has successfully demonstrated MRO in a variety of applications from biometric security to non-destructive testing.

Professor Martin Leahy, Chair of Applied Optics and Director of the Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging (TOMI) Laboratory at NUI Galway, directs the collaboration’s research efforts in Galway. Professor Leahy said: “We are delighted that Compact Imaging has been chosen by SRI for dynamic biometric authentication applications. Our collaboration with Compact Imaging to advance OCT and MRO has been an ideal partnership in which our team has provided substantial research for applications critical to society worldwide.”

Professor Leahy added: “The security of personal data is a pressing global concern, as we are using fingerprints for everything from phone unlocking to security checks. Technology developed at NUI Galway is supporting businesses and governments to verify identities more rigorously to make our personal data more secure.”  

“The NUI Galway team has made important contributions to the advancement of MRO. The miniaturization of MRO opens new high-volume markets to OCT’s powerful non-invasive imaging capabilities,” said Don Bogue, CEO of Compact Imaging.


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