Twins are intriguing research subjects for Notre Dame biometircs researchers

Sep 08, 2010

Each year in August, the aptly named town of Twinsburg, Ohio, is the site of the largest official gathering of twins in the world. Open to all multiples -- identical and fraternal twins, triplets and quads from newborns to octogenarians -- the weekend's events include food, live entertainment, a golf tournament, and a twins' parade.

The event also has become an important site for field research by Kevin Bowyer and Patrick Flynn of the University of Notre Dame's Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Flynn has a twin sister, making this research especially relevant to him.

Flynn and Bowyer have been developing and assessing image-based biometrics and multi-biometrics technologies since 2001, including first-of-kind comparisons of face photographs, face thermograms, 3-D face images, iris images, video of human gait, and even ear and hand shapes.

A biometric is a stable and distinctive physiological feature of a person that can be measured and used to identify that person; the fingerprint is the most familiar example.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, federal agencies have become increasingly interested in the feasibility of facial and technologies.

Bowyer and Flynn have received two grants from the for research into the discrimination of identical twins. Even identical twins have unique irises. They are examining how iris biometrics performs in twins to confirm prior claims that biometrics is capable of differentiating between twins and to explore if human observers can make distinctions that current iris biometrics technologies cannot.

At the Twinsburg event, Bowyer and Flynn recruited volunteers to capture biometrical samples of . The volunteers sat at the center of a half-circle arc surrounded by five cameras which took high resolution color photographs from different angles. Volunteers also posed for iris and 3-D face imaging cameras.

After acquisition and assembly of these field-collected data, the researchers then presented unlabeled twin and non-twin image pairs in equal numbers to another group of human volunteers on campus. These volunteers were told to record their opinion of whether the image pairs came from a pair of twins or from unrelated individuals.

Bowyer's and Flynn's research indicates that the participants can correctly classify pairs of with 80 percent accuracy using only the appearance of the iris, a level that rules out the possibility of random guessing.

Their research suggests that iris images may be able to be used for purposes beyond those that are currently envisioned by the biometrics research community. The researchers plan on continuing to analyze data from the Twinsburg event to look closer at the feasibility of new types of automated iris image analysis. Initial results of their work appear in the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Biometrics Workshop and the International Carnahan Conference on Security Technology.

Explore further: Google's Street View address reading software also able to decipher CAPTCHAs

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

QUT researcher eyes off a biometric future

Dec 04, 2007

It is not science fiction to think that our eyes could very soon be the key to unlocking our homes, accessing our bank accounts and logging on to our computers, according to Queensland University of Technology researcher ...

NIST test proves 'the eyes have it' for ID verification

Nov 04, 2009

The eyes may be the mirror to the soul, but the iris reveals a person's true identity—its intricate structure constitutes a powerful biometric. A new report by computer scientists at the National Institute ...

Laser surgery saves twins' lives

Aug 25, 2006

A new laser surgery is being used to save the lives of identical twins suffering from twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, or TTTS.

Tell me by the way I walk

Jun 09, 2008

Biometrics is commonly associated retinal scans, iris recognition and DNA databases, but researchers in India are working on another form of biometrics that could allow law enforcement agencies and airport security to recognize ...

Recommended for you

Ant colonies help evacuees in disaster zones

Apr 16, 2014

An escape route mapping system based on the behavior of ant colonies could give evacuees a better chance of reaching safe harbor after a natural disaster or terrorist attack by building a map of showing the shortest routes ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

Men who show signs of chronic inflammation in non-cancerous prostate tissue may have nearly twice the risk of actually having prostate cancer than those with no inflammation, according to results of a new study led by researchers ...