Blog 25 Jan 2024

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Iris recognition

Iris Recognition System | A Seamless Way to Verify Identity Using Eye Scanning

Author: Carter | 25 Jan 2024

With the advent of technology, businesses are evolving, and adopting new techniques to automate daily operations. Biometric verification is one of those processes getting completely revolutionised with new technologies. At first, fingerprints led the biometric market, but later on were replaced by facial recognition solutions. The shift was seen especially during the pandemic when physical contact was limited. Now as technology-driven solutions are growing, new methods of verification, like iris recognition systems, are being introduced that offer more accuracy and do not rely on any physical scanners.

Iris recognition refers to verifying a person using the coloured part of the eye, i.e., Iris. This method verifies and authenticates the individual’s identity. According to the latest report, the iris recognition market size is growing at a CAGR of 17.7% and is expected to reach $8 billion by the end of 2027. 

This blog will discuss the importance of the iris recognition system in the modern biometric landscape, highlighting its pros and cons compared to other prominent solutions across the global identity verification (IDV) market. 

Key Highlights:

  • Understanding the basics of Iris recognition systems, how they work and how they are different from others.
  • Navigating through the biometric verification system with a comparison to prominent verification solutions, such as fingerprints and face recognition.
  • Explaining the advantages businesses can take by incorporating an iris recognition system.

What is the Iris Recognition System?

As briefly explained above, iris recognition is an evolving technology that uses human eye data to differentiate and verify an individual. It is a reliable solution that offers higher accuracy whilst limiting the risk of onboarding fraudsters. An iris recognition system refers to an automated solution that compares different people’s unique characteristics and eye patterns. Organisations employ this solution to verify their customers, stakeholders, investors and other entities involved in the business. Until now, iris recognition systems have not been the go-to option for most businesses compared to face verification and fingerprints, but they hold an exceptional accuracy rate, and the future of this solution seems bright.

Is the Iris Recognition System a Feasible Solution?

Iris biometrics uses human eyes to verify their identity. It is a much more reliable and accurate solution in the modern industry. This verification method is employed in sensitive networks where enterprises need to ensure 100% security. These firms include law enforcement agencies, cybercrime prevention offices and nuclear power plants. One downside of the iris recognition system is its requirement of specific hardware components. Unlike other solutions such as face and voice recognition, which only need a camera and a microphone to work, the iris recognition system needs dedicated hardware to be added to the system that is responsible for accurate eye-scanning. 

Iris Recognition System Comparison with Other Biometric Solutions

In the context of other biometric scanning solutions, the iris detection technique has pros, which will be discussed later. But in comparison, it beats both the fingerprint and facial recognition solutions regarding accuracy. Below is the breakdown of the iris recognition system with fingerprint reading solutions and facial recognition:

Fingerprints

Fingerprint scanning is the first biometric solution that was incorporated by businesses worldwide. In this technique, people use their fingerprints to verify their identities. The drawback of this solution is that fingerprint marks fade with ageing. It is a natural process, and for many adults, after crossing a certain age, for instance, late 60s, many scanners fail to detect the actual marks and decline the verification attempt. Compared to fingerprints, the human iris proves to be a fruitful option as it doesn’t rely on physical touch.

Facial Recognition

Facial recognition solutions became popular during the pandemic when physical touch was limited. It proved a very efficient method as many industries started deploying these systems. For instance, the mobile phone market made face verification a primary choice for unlocking mobile phones. The drawback to this system is the accuracy of complex attacks. This is why attackers can easily bypass these systems using silicone masks and other ways of spoofing.   

The Pros of the Iris Recognition System

Iris Recognition excels in the biometric verification solutions due to its accuracy and other advantages it offers to businesses. As irises can also differentiate between identical twins accurately, companies that want foolproof security implement this system. Here are the top 5 advantages iris recognition systems provide over other traditional methods of verification: 

Iris recognition

Speed

Iris recognition technology is much faster and requires the least scanning time compared to other methods. It is not false to say that iris recognition solutions are one of the fastest biometric matching solutions in the market. It has very low false acceptance and rejection rates. 

Accuracy

Accuracy has always been a problem for biometric verification solutions in the industry. This is why spoof attacks have become a common practice for attackers. The false rejection rate is much lower compared to fingerprints. Users just need to look into the dedicated iris scanner, which instantly detects the eye’s colour, evaluating the iris and identity, all in real time.

No Risk of Forgery

For fingerprints, attackers can copy the print code and use it on various other scanners to gain access to the system. Similarly, new methods of spoofing and deep fakes are becoming accurate enough to bypass face recognition systems that do not use the sophisticated modern approach. With current spoofing attempts, Iris recognition is nearly impossible to forge, as the threshold is very low. This is why sensitive businesses implement this technique to protect against potential fraud. 

Stable

Iris recognition systems are stable, meaning that they can work for a long time. As the human iris doesn’t degrade with age, all the iris biometric tools are well-stable for biometric verification.

Contactless

Iris recognition technology doesn’t require any physical contact with the sensor as the scanning operation is carried through the air and light. It is more hygienic and less intrusive compared to fingerprints.

How Facia Can Help?

At Facia, we handle iris recognition biometrics the same way we do with other verification methods. We believe in staying neutral when it comes to software and algorithms, exclusively using the top-rated ones by NIST. Our biometric solutions are designed to work with any iris scanner device and algorithm from any vendor. This includes hardware and algorithms from different vendors, and we seamlessly integrate them to offer our customers a personalised solution at an off-the-shelf price. Talk to our experts to get a complete walkthrough for your specific business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is eye scanning?

The term 'eye scanning' refers to various technologies used to capture and analyze characteristics of the human eye for identification and security purposes. This includes iris recognition, which uses the unique patterns of the iris, and retinal scanning, which examines blood vessel patterns in the retina.

How does Iris recognition work?

Iris recognition captures a high-resolution image of the eye (coloured part of the eye) using infrared light. Special software analyzes unique patterns in your iris and creates a digital code (iris template). This template is then compared against a database for identification or verification.

How accurate is iris scanning?

Iris scanning is one of the most accurate biometric methods available. Its error rate is extremely low, (0.1-0.2, 1:10 million) with a high degree of reliability (99.33%) in matching accuracy. The uniqueness of iris patterns, even between identical twins, makes it highly effective for secure identification.

Can iris recognition be fooled?

While iris recognition provides high security, no system is foolproof. Techniques like using high-quality photographs or sophisticated artificial eyes have been attempted to bypass iris scanners. However, modern systems employ live detection features that distinguish real eyes from replicas by detecting natural eye movement or pupil dilation.

What are the problems with iris recognition?

Limitations of iris recognition include:

  • Performance can degrade due to sunlight or if the subject is wearing glasses or contact lenses that obscure the iris.
  • Setting up iris recognition systems is expensive due to the specialized cameras and infrared illumination.
  • Acceptance and privacy concerns due to biometric data collection.
Do identical twins have the same iris scan?

No, identical twins do not have the same iris scan. The iris is highly unique, and its pattern is not determined by genetics. Instead, it develops randomly as the fetus grows. This randomness ensures that each iris is unique, making iris recognition an effective biometric even for identical twins.