Hats Off to Ear Shape Biometrics

Hats Off to Ear Shape BiometricsA biometrics developer will be showing off a unique modality at this year’s CES on the Hill event in Washington DC: ear biometrics. Developed by Descartes Biometrics Inc., the HELIX system can identify individuals based on the appearance of their unique ear shapes.

HELIX boasts of a cross-platform library and is compatible with most camera-equipped devices, including webcams, smartphones, surveillance cameras and so on. The company is marketing its product to a range of fields, from time and attendance tracking to mobile banking to healthcare. Descartes Biometrics says the system can even recognize individuals from a crowd via a CCTV system, providing a valuable tool for security and law enforcement purposes.

It’s an unusual system, to be sure, but not unusual in being unusual. There are a range of biometric modalities emerging as organizations begin to realize the value in multi-factor security systems: FST’s MIDI platform, for example, uses a combination of facial, voice, and movement pattern biometrics for authentication purposes; while NuData is pioneering the behavioural biometrics of user-device interaction. And individuals do indeed have unique ear shapes; readers who have seen the acclaimed documentary The Impostor will recall it played an important role in the real-life investigation detailed in the film.