'E-gate' adds face recognition to airline security

SAN JOSE: Silicon Valley-based AOptix  introduced new "e-gates" that recognize faces as well as irises of passengers before opening to let them board flights.

"This is what we call the future of passenger boarding," AOptix director of corporate communications Brian Rhea said as an InSight Duo electronic gate was tested at the San Jose International Airport in Northern California.

AOptix e-gates that confirm identities based on iris scans are already in use at airports in Britain and Qatar and at a "high-security facility" in the US capital.

The new system making its public debut at a Biometric Consortium Conference in Florida on Tuesday is touted as the first to add facial recognition to scanning irises, which are unique to every person.

Those being "enrolled" look briefly at a scanner, which maps faces and eyes in seconds. Biometric data stored in computers is synced to bar codes on boarding passes or other documents.

Someone trying to get on a flight places a boarding pass on a reader at an e-gate and looks into a nearby screen, which can check whether irises and faces match information on record. Security gates only open for correct matches.

AOptix, founded 11 years ago in Northern California by astronomers, paired biometric scanning technology with gates made by Germany-based Kaba.

The company said it has seen interest in combined iris-face identification systems from officials who run high-security buildings, airports, or border checkpoints.

E-gates will not spare people from routine security screening at airports.

Airlines tend to keep biometric data only for the short-term, dumping it after flights are completed and the data is no longer necessary for security checks.

The iris or face databases linked to Duo e-gates at locations such as border checkpoints or building entrances would be up to those in charge of security. (AFP)



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