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Software Sniffs Out Criminals By the Shape Of Their Nose

Software Sniffs Out Criminals By the Shape Of Their Nose

Forget iris and fingerprint scans - scanning noses could be a quicker and easier way to verify a person's identity, according to scientists at the University of Bath.

With worries about illegal immigration and identity theft, authorities are increasingly looking to using an individual's physical characteristics, known as biometrics, to confirm their identity.

Unlike other facial features used for biometrics, such as eyes or ears, noses are difficult to conceal and also aren't changed much by facial expression.

Dr Adrian Evans and Adrian Moorhouse, from the University's Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, decided to investigate whether images of people's noses could be used to recognise individuals.

Instead of using the whole shape of the nose, the researchers used three characteristics in their analysis: the ridge profile, the nose tip, and the nasion or section between the eyes at the top of the nose.

They combined the curvature of the ridge with the ratios of the tip and nasion widths and ridge length. This combined ratio was then used to distinguish between a database of 36 people.

Whilst the researchers used a relatively small sample, they found that nose scanning showed good potential for use as a biometric, with a good recognition rate and a faster rate of image processing than with conventional biometric techniques such as whole face recognition.

Dr Evans said: "Noses are prominent facial features, and yet their use as a biometric has been largely unexplored. We wanted to find out how good they could be at recognising individuals from a database.


"The software analyses the shadows and works out coordinates for each point on the face. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Bath)"

Source: University of Bath

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