Noses Beat Eyes as a Biometric Identification Marker

The Nose Knows

Software analyzes where shadows fall on the face to give the computer a good model of the nose.via BBC News

While retina scans still give a James Bond feel to security, and finger prints have a bit of retro charm, the cutting edge of biometric identification has moved to a new body part: the nose. According to researchers at the University of Bath, England, the nose is both unique and easily scanned in a crowd, making it the perfect biometric identification marker.

The researchers scanned a wide range of noses into their computer, and measured their length, curvature, and width. The scientists then discovered six common nose types they called Roman, Greek, Nubian, Hawk, Snub and Turn-up. Then, by cross referencing the type with the ratio of tip width to length to the width of the space between the eyes, the computer was able to correctly identify 36 people in a database based on their nose shape.

By using the nose, the researchers hoped to enable a biometric identification in large, crowded areas like airports. In those situations, eyes can be hid behind glasses, and finger prints aren't accessible. But get a shot of someone's schnoz, and a computer can make the ID.

But as anyone who lives in Beverly Hills or the Upper East Side will tell you, getting a new nose really isn't that hard. And considering that people seem more than willing to get finger print surgery to dodge customs, the implementation of this technology may just lead a to rash of rhinoplasty for those looking to stay off the grid.