New Biometric Software Tracks Unique Eye Movements For Identification

Eye Scan

Future eye scanners will look for your eye's patterns of movement, rather than unique physical shapes.US Army via Flickr

Biometrics, harrumph. Meet eyeometrics — a new system that tracks not the shape, but the unique movement patterns of your eyes, for simpler, more reliable security.

The system, designed by Israeli firm ID-U Biometrics, tracks the way a user's eye moves as he or she watches an icon move across a screen. The eye twitches and roams in about a dozen different ways, yielding a unique eye signature. The way your eyes move can be different every time you look at something, but just like handwriting, every person has consistent patterns and trajectories.

The system can track those trajectories to identify someone, as Tech Review reports.

It works with a regular video camera and special software that analyzes a user's eye movements. ID-U says it is the first biometric identification system driven by response to an external stimuli, rather than just a unique shape or pattern.

We've seen other eye-tracking technology that allows hands-free iPod use, wearable lifelogging or even remote control of robots. But using an eye-print for security purposes is an apparently new application.

The technology is a finalist in the 5th annual Global Security Challenge, an annual business competition for security innovators and researchers. Winners will be announced tomorrow (Nov. 11) in London. The best small or medium security enterprise will receive $300,000 and mentorship from the Carlyle Group; the best security start-up wins $200,000 and mentorship from Advent Venture Partners. Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Daphna Palti-Wasserman, CEO of ID-U, told Tech Review that the system is cheaper and easier to deploy than advanced biometric systems that require special hardware. It can work with most cell phones or computers equipped with video cameras, she said. It's so simple that ID-U is working on an app for the iPhone 4.