Photokina 2014 highlights

Identification

Prof. Diane Beauchemin analyzes hair in her lab (Photo: Anne Craig)

If you watch any cop shows, then you know that a person's race and gender can be determined by doing a DNA analysis of one of their hairs. Now, however, Canadian scientists at Queen's University have developed a method of obtaining that same information from hair samples, that's quicker than DNA testing and is 100 percent accurate.  Read More

The Mobile Authentication via Retina Scanner (MARS) prototype is compact and portable (Pho...

Retinal scans have a lot going for them as a form of identification. You can’t forget your retinas, they're unique, they’re a lot harder to steal than passwords, and Captain Kirk uses them. The problem is, the technology needed to run a reliable retinal scan is often bulky, expensive, and hard to use. Scientists at the Dresden-based Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) have shrunk down retinal scanning technology in the hopes of making retinal scans a more widespread identification technology.  Read More

The ICE Unlock app serves the same purpose as a physical fingerprint scanner

One of the big selling features of phones like the iPhone 5s and the HTC One max is their ability to verify the identification of the user by scanning their fingerprint. While those phones use a built-in scanner to do the job, Diamond Fortress Technologies' new ICE Unlock app lets Android mobile devices do the same thing, but using their camera.  Read More

Photographs often contain more information than we think (Photo: University of York)

The worst has happened. You receive an emailed kidnap demand with a picture of your loved one in dire straits. You contact the authorities, and in a flash (relatively speaking), they have identified the kidnapper and possibly some accomplices, and are well on their way toward recovering the victim. How did this happen? By identifying the faces of the kidnappers caught in the reflection of your loved one's eyes.  Read More

Scientists have developed 'DNA barcodes' that could be used to authenticate high-end consu...

Earlier this year, we heard about a gun and a fogging system, both of which tag criminals with synthesized DNA. The idea is that when those people are apprehended later, they can be linked to the crime by analyzing the location- or event-specific DNA still on their skin or clothing. Now, scientists at the Technology Transfer Unit of Portugal's University of Aveiro are developing something similar – DNA "barcodes" that can be applied to products, then subsequently read as a means of identification.  Read More

Howler monkeys are among the species the researchers used to train the system (Photo: Anto...

The tropical ecosystems of Costa Rica and Puerto Rico have ears, and have done for some time. These recording stations were put together with iPods and car batteries which each record 144 60-second recordings every day, and transmit them to a web-enabled base station up to 40 km (25 miles) away. From there they're uploaded to a web app with which biologists train a software algorithm to recognize the chirrups, squeaks and caterwauls of the forest's birds, monkeys, frogs and other fauna. It's all in the name of documenting wildlife, to better understand the effects of deforestation and climate change. And according to scientists at the University of Puerto Rico, it sure beats putting boots on the ground.  Read More

City dwellers will soon by under the watchful gaze of digital ad hoardings (Photo: Shutter...

Though facial recognition software has been in our homes for some time (having been a feature in Picasa and iPhoto since 2009), the prospect of being the unwitting subject of similar technology while out and about is an alien one. That could be about to change thanks to the announcement of OptimEyes, a system designed to be fitted to digital advertising hoardings in Europe to gauge just who is paying attention.  Read More

Scientists have developed a system in which a scan of the blood vessels within a person's ...

We’ve certainly been hearing a lot about facial recognition as a means of identification, although the technology could – conceivably – be thwarted by someone wearing a mask. Now, however, scientists at India’s Jadavpur University are taking a different approach to facial ID. They’ve developed a system that can identify a person based not on the composition of their face, but on the blood vessels within it.  Read More

Applied DNA Sciences (ADNAS) has developed a new approach to solve crimes using DNA taggin...

Applied DNA Sciences (ADNAS) has developed a new approach to solve crimes using DNA tagging. The difference is that instead of tagging the objects being stolen, the company's system tags the perpetrator with DNA. While this has been tried before by applying the DNA to a fleeing criminal with a gun, ADNAS has adopted a more subtle approach.  Read More

The iPhone-based AOptix Stratus

When you think about portable biometric identification devices (you do think about them, right?), you likely picture relatively bulky contraptions. This week, however, California tech company AOptix announced its new Stratus biometrics system, that’s based around the user’s existing iPhone 4 or 4S.  Read More

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