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Ear Scanning Biometric ID System Developed by U.K. Researchers

ear scanThe future of biometric scanning may not be at your fingertips, or in front of your eyes. Apparently, it could be in your ears.

As the Telegraph reports, researchers at the University of Southampton in the U.K. have now created a system capable of scanning and analyzing ear structures, which, they claim, are unique enough to accurately identify people. The researchers are hopeful that their new system could help airport security workers instantly identify passengers by scanning their ears, and comparing the results against a database of ear shapes.

"With facial recognition, the systems are often confused by crows feet and other signs of aging," lead researcher Mark Nixon says. "Your ears, however, age very gracefully. They grow proportionally larger and your lobe gets a bit more elongated, but otherwise your ears are fully formed from birth." An ear scan system would also offer passport control workers a faster, less invasive alternative to retina scanning, which requires passengers to stare at scanners from a close range.

There is, of course, one small thing that could hinder Nixon's ear-scanning system: hair. Hirsute hurdles aside, though, Nixon remains optimistic that his new technology could be incorporated into a larger, more comprehensive biometric scanning system. "In reality, I expect there won't be a single approach, but in fact a combination of different biometrics that can be taken simultaneously to identify an individual," he says.

Tags: airport, AirportSecurity, anatomy, biometric, BiometricSecurity, ears, id-Software, Passport, scanner, science, top, uk