A researcher at the University of Queensland (UQ) has conceived an idea to remove one of the final obstacles to the application of the iris scanning technology in routine works—like unlocking doors, accessing bank accounts, logging on to computers etc.
Sammy Phang says that the pattern of an iris is like a fingerprint as every iris is unique.
"Every individual iris is unique and even the iris pattern of the left eye is different from the right. The iris pattern is fixed throughout a person's lifetime. By using iris recognition it is possible to confirm the identity of a person based on who the person is rather than what the person possesses, such as an ID card or password," she said.
"It is already being used around the world and it is possible that within the next 10 to 20 years it will be part of our everyday lives," she added.
While iris recognition systems have already found use in a number of civilian applications, Phang says that the system is not perfect.
"Changes in lighting conditions change a person's pupil size and distort the iris pattern," she said.
"If the pupil size is very different, the distortion of the iris pattern can be significant, and makes it hard for the iris recognition system to work properly," she added.
Phang said that she had an idea to overcome such flaws. She said that she had developed a technology to estimate the effect of the change in the iris pattern as a result of changes in surrounding lighting conditions.
"It is possible for a pupil to change in size from 0.8mm to 8mm, depending on lighting conditions," she said.
She said that with the use of a high-speed camera that could capture up to 1200 images per second, it was possible to track the iris surface's movements to study how the iris pattern changed depending on the variation of pupil sizes caused by the light.
"The study showed that everyone's iris surface movement is different," she said.
Pang said that tests with iris images had so far shown that it was possible to estimate the change on the surface of the iris, and account for the way the iris features changed due to different lighting conditions.
"Preliminary image similarity comparisons between the actual iris image and the estimated iris image based on this study suggest that this can possibly improve iris verification performance," she said.