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BT/ Apple patent filing shows Touch ID, biometric key on upcoming Macs

Biometrics biweekly vol. 12, 10th May — 24th May


  • A patent application from Apple showing how future Mac keyboards could have a fingerprint biometric button featuring a textured ceramic key cover has been published
  • New leaks hint at a smaller biometric chip on iPhone 13
  • Pixel 6 rumored to have new processor, under-display fingerprint sensor
  • Orbbec has started a new collaboration with Microsoft to develop 3D cameras based on the Azure Depth Platform, which could be used in face biometrics applications
  • Nomidio has announced a new integration of its web-based system with Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), to allow the passwordless, biometric authentication of Microsoft 365 users
  • Cloudflare launches cryptographic humanity authentication test to eliminate CAPTCHAs
  • Innovatrics has released a new upgrade of its SmartFace biometric system to offer passive liveness detection and anti-spoofing capabilities on live video feeds
  • ID R&D has been awarded a patent for multi-modal biometric authentication building on existing login processes on mobile devices
  • Jumio face biometrics and liveness selected for real-time Australian identity checks
  • Revenues for FaceTec grew by a spectacular 321 percent on a year-over-year basis in its first quarter of fiscal 2021, driven by dramatic increases in the use of its biometric liveness detection and onboarding technologies
  • Biometrics accomplishments adding up for IrisGuard and Veridas
  • Yoti updated transparency report on biometric age verification shows further accuracy gains
  • Veridium, Veriff and SAFR each announce biometrics integration partnerships
  • Biometrics partnership formed by AIStorm and Tower Semiconductor
  • Keyless biometrics certified for FIDO compliance by Fime
  • A.I. Tech’s face mask detection app a finalist at Benchmark Innovation awards
  • US military integrates biometrics-enabled watchlist with DoD ABIS
  • Veridos shares first-half results of biometric D4Fly border-crossing project
  • GBT Technologies developing long-range, real-time biometrics and object detection
  • Ambiq announces new voice biometrics tool for IoT integration
  • NEC accelerates face biometrics 20X with neuroscience-inspired AI engine
  • 1Kosmos’ BlockID biometric solution meets NIST standard in Kantara compliance tes
  • Student blasts away traditional fingerprint biometric dusting with new forensic technique
  • Interoperability a challenge for touchless fingerprint biometrics, researcher tells EAB
  • Researchers urge protection of athletes’ biometric data amid legal uncertainty
  • Mastercard study shows biometric payments strongly supported by Africans
  • Good Health Pass Collaborative lobbies G7 for universal acceptance
  • UK security bill to introduce biometric age verification for social media registration
  • Philippines begins ID cards delivery, plans biometric KYC launch by year end
  • Campaigners predict U.S. federal facial recognition regulation
  • Acuant selfie biometrics to secure Airside digital health pass
  • Jumio’s face biometrics platform tops 1M verifications per day
  • Emotion detection’s market strength grows along with qualms
  • Technologies and regulations supporting selfie biometrics expand
  • Fingerprint biometric market to reach $8.5B in 5 years
  • BBC addresses facial recognition bias issues in new Click episode
  • Biometrics industry events. And more!

Biometrics market

The Biometric system market size is projected to grow from USD 36.6 billion in 2020 to USD 68.6 billion by 2025; it is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 13.4% during the forecast period. Increasing use of biometrics in consumer electronic devices for authentication and identification purposes, the growing need for surveillance and security with the heightened threat of terrorist attacks, and the surging adoption of biometric technology in automotive applications are the major factor propelling the growth of the biometric system market.

Biometric Research & Development

Latest Researches:

An overview of touchless 2D fingerprint recognition

by Jannis Priesnitz, Christian Rathgeb, Nicolas Buchmann, Christoph Busch & Marian Margraf in EURASIP Journal on Image and Video Processing

Touchless fingerprint biometrics have reached good levels of useability and user acceptance, but challenges relating to performance and interoperability with touch-based fingerprint systems require further research, according to Jannis Priesnitz of the National Research Center for Applied Cybersecurity. The European Biometrics Association (EAB) presented Priesnitz’ talk based on his paper providing ‘An Overview of Touchless 2D Fingerprint Recognition’.

A review of the literature on touchless fingerprint biometrics shows that interest in the technology has increased steadily, Priesnitz notes.

Touchless fingerprint technology has a significantly different workflow from traditional fingerprint biometrics, starting with image enhancement to enable the characteristics of the fingerprint to be extracted. Fingerprint detection, alignment and quality assessments are also often carried out before feature extraction and biometric comparison.

Acquisition devices are divided into dedicated hardware systems, which offer some distinct advantages, and typical image capturing devices like webcams and smartphone cameras, where processing can sometimes be carried out locally, but challenges such as related to lighting are more likely to arise.

From there, Priesnitz explains measures taken to clarify features and exclude unclear image areas.

The NIST Fingerprint Image Quality (NFIQ) 2.0 algorithm can be used to assess contactless fingerprint images, according to a recent paper by Priesnitz. Legacy feature extractors are typically also capable of working with contactless fingerprints, but tend to deliver worse performance than dedicated touchless fingerprint extractors. Likewise, dedicated touchless comparison algorithms tend to outperform general fingerprint biometric comparison algorithms.

Touchless preprocessing workflow.

One challenge in touchless fingerprinting is providing the positioning guidance for the sensor area, which in touch-based smartphone systems is fairly effective and convenient for users.

Various image quality concerns were discussed, along with sensor interoperability and different camera qualities.

Presentation attack detection (PAD) is more difficult with touchless systems, Priesnitz says, less because of the wider possible range of spoof attacks, including photographs and videos, than because the lack of touch against a surface prevents the use of some effective fingerprint spoofing detection methods.

Several questions related to measuring fingerprints captured with smartphone cameras and aligning them with the 500 dpi standard for touch fingerprints.

Taboo Transactions: Selling Athlete Biometric Data

by John T. Holden and Kimberly Houser

The increasing tracking and use of athletes’ biometric data, combined with growing interest in the data for a range of purposes, is creating new privacy concerns, without rules in place to determine who is responsible for keeping the data safe, researchers have warned.

The paper ‘Taboo Transactions: Selling Athlete Biometric Data,’ by John T. Holden of Oklahoma State University and Kimberly Houser of the University of North Texas, will be published in an upcoming issue of the Florida State University Law Review. Changes in the legality of sports gambling, in particular, have generated new demand for any information which could yield an edge in predicting sports results.

“This promise has made biometric data a priority across professional and amateur sports, however, it is not just teams and scouts with a major interest in this data, bookmakers and gamblers would also love to get access to this information,” the researchers write. “In light of the recent expansion of legalized sports gambling in the United States and the desirability of this information we propose that measures need to be taken to protect the interests of professional athletes.”

The paper considers the uncertain legal status of biometric data collected from athletes, and how collective bargaining agreements between professional leagues and players’ unions, which differ significantly between sports. The PGA, for example, formed an official partnership with Whoop at the beginning of 2021.

Federal and state privacy laws, ownership of biometrics and derived data, and the potential role of data trusts are considered.

The researchers recommend data trusts as “the best path forward to mitigate the potential harms to the athletes–while at the same time maximizing the societal and economic value of the (athletes’ biometric data).”

Forensic science student develops ‘sandblasting’ technique to detect fingerprints

Could ‘dusting for fingerprints’ be replaced by sandblasting? A University of Toronto student has developed a blasting technique which biometric experiments show could be more effective than dusting at detecting fingerprints at a crime scene.

Fourth-year forensic science student at University of Toronto Mississauga, Bethany Krebs, has developed a method which involves the abrasive blasting of a special powder across a surface to reveal fingerprints for biometric analysis, according to her university’s news site.

Krebs’ experiments show the method to be more effective and more economical than the more traditional powder approach.

“One of the biggest issues is time,” says Krebs. “If you have a large and complicated crime scene, it could take a long time to brush areas for fingerprints.” Conventional brushing by hand can also damage and latent fingerprints and reduce their likelihood of producing a biometric match.

Krebs developed a gravity-fee sandblasting gun which is powered by an air compressor and sprays fluorescent yellow corn starch powder, which is proven to be effective and is less toxic than compounds used in dusting.

“This has the potential to be a viable alternative to detecting fingerprints, particularly with larger crime scenes where there are time and resource constraints,” says Krebs, who is exploring ways to publish her findings.

A gravity-feed sandblasting gun powered by an air compressor is used to spray fluorescent yellow cornstarch powder (photo by Bethany Krebs)

Understanding the Role of Facial Recognition Standards

An article published in the journal Standards Engineering calls out developing ASTM International standards for use in facial recognition.

The article is not about newly proposed standards. Instead, it is a progress report on developing standards in an industry in critical need of them.

The paper, “Understanding the Role of Facial Recognition Standards,” is available free on LinkedIn.

One standard being worked on would aid facial comparison examiners. Its objective would be “to describe the relative physical stability of facial features of adults when assessing the observed component characteristic within a single living subject.” A key aspect of the standard would be to address factors affecting the stability of facial features in an adult. The features would be ranked by how stable they are — low, medium and high. Less-stable features would be discounted in image searches and biometric comparisons.

The second standard discussed would guide role-based training in facial comparison. This one is all about setting basic-through-advanced objective criteria that competent professionals would meet.

A third proposed standard would be called Image Processing to Improve Automated Facial Recognition Search Performance. In this case, the guidance would standardize how a facial examiner processes a probe image so that an investigative lead can be maximized.

While some probe images need no massaging to be most useful, many do. Those might need manual processing within a facial recognition system by a trained examiner. The goal would be to accentuate features without altering them in the massaging process.

The IEEE also began working on facial recognition standards to protect against potential social harms in 2019.

Main Development News:

Apple patent filing shows Touch ID, biometric key on upcoming Macs

A patent application from Apple showing how future Mac keyboards could have a fingerprint biometric button featuring a textured ceramic key cover has been published, Patently Apple reports.

The iPhone giant was first granted a patent for Touch ID for MacBooks in 2015, but it was only one year later that Apple introduced Touch ID on a single key within the Touch Bar.

The new patent filing published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office hints at a Touch ID biometric button whose cap and textured ceramic cover may each be configured to provide a desired visual and tactile property.

The document also specifies the button may be formed of a single crystal, such as single crystal alumina, and configured as not to “substantially interfere with the operation of the biometric sensor.”

In addition, the patent mentions how future iterations of the new sensors may offer users extra biometric-reading features.

These could include measurement of heart rate, blood oxygenation, respiration rate, medial arterial pressure, galvanic skin response, vein patterns, and more.

The new document, which was published on Thursday by the USPTO is patent application number 20210142030 and was initially filed by Apple in March.

The company has been filing a number of patents describing new biometric sensors in the past few months.

These include one for an under-display optical fingerprint biometric sensor in January, and one designed to improve Face ID biometrics for masked users earlier this month.

New leaks hint at a smaller biometric chip on iPhone 13

The upcoming iPhone 13 may have a smaller notch enabled by the presence of a more compact chip to run Face ID biometrics, according to 9to5Mac.

This is not the first time rumors claim a smaller notch on the upcoming iPhone handheld, but new data from Digitimes seems to confirm a 40 to 50 percent reduction of the size of VCSEL chips, which are used in 3D face biometric sensors for both iPhone and iPad devices.

According to speculations from 9to5Mac, the size reduction could happen by moving the speaker or microphone from the notch to the bezel, as well as combining separate Face ID components to reduce the overall size of the chip.

Apple has been working substantially on the next generation of Face ID technologies, recently filing a new patent describing improved face biometrics capabilities for masked users.

Pixel 6 rumored to have new processor, under-display fingerprint sensor

The upcoming Pixel phones may feature a Google-designed Whitechapel chipset, as well as a completely overhauled design, 9to5Google reports.

Despite not being published directly by Google, a series of photos rendered by Jon Prosser in a YouTube video and corroborated in design by Android expert Max Weinbach in a recent tweet seems to hint at the new features.

According to the renders, the upcoming Pixel phones would have a large horizontal camera bump for the main cameras, as well as a centered hole punch for the selfie camera.

The Pixel 6 is expected to feature an under-display fingerprint biometric sensor for device unlocking, rather than native face biometrics.

The recent leak also introduces the possibility of two variants of the upcoming Pixel phones, a smaller standard Pixel 6 and a bigger Pixel 6 “Pro,” which would add a third camera to the design.

Orbbec partners with Microsoft on 3D cameras with biometric application potential

Orbbec has started a new collaboration with Microsoft to develop 3D cameras based on the Azure Depth Platform, which could be used in face biometrics applications.

The devices will incorporate Microsoft’s 3D sensor technology and Orbbec’s camera design know-how.

The cameras will be manufactured by Orbbec with the goal of providing computer vision and AI developers with the tools to build solutions for a variety of industries, including logistics, robotics, retail, healthcare, and fitness, some of which may include biometrics.

The technology was first unveiled at CES 2021, where Orbbec showcased a new Time-of-Flight (ToF) camera product line with advanced features capable of enabling biometric deployments in challenging conditions.

“Orbbec’s long experience in manufacturing high-performance 3D cameras makes them a strong strategic partner for developing products based on Microsoft ToF technology and Azure,” said Cyrus Bamji, Microsoft partner hardware architect. “This collaboration will accelerate the availability of ToF sensor cameras with advanced, embedded computing for developers and solution providers worldwide,” he added.

The novel cameras will support multiple ToF sensors, on-board depth computing, 6-axis IMU motion tracking, multi-camera synchronization, and other 3D imaging features.

ToF is a technology used to capture the position and shape of objects by using light, instead of ultrasound waves.

Via ToF sensors, the upcoming 3D camera line will be able to run advanced depth vision algorithms using onboard computing to convert raw data into precise depth images.

Through the new partnership with Microsoft, the devices will then connect to the Azure platform to provide companies with device management, data streaming, and AI analytics capabilities.

“Microsoft is a world leader in high-resolution ToF sensor technology and cloud-based service,” commented David Chen, co-founder, and director of engineering for Orbbec. “Its knowledge and intellectual property allow Orbbec to offer a full range of ToF cameras for the widest possible spectrum of uses.”

Planned for commercial release for 2022, the new ToF cameras will be first tested by Orbbec’s customers for early adoption and proof of concept operations.

“Orbbec is excited to join the Azure Depth Platform Program, to jointly develop solutions that will enhance the capabilities of both Orbbec and Microsoft’s customer and partner ecosystems,” Chen concluded.

Microsoft also recently expanded its voice biometrics capabilities through the acquisition of Nuance.

Innovatrics’ SmartFace biometrics updated with passive liveness detection on live video

Innovatrics has released a new upgrade of its SmartFace biometric system to offer passive liveness detection and anti-spoofing capabilities on live video feeds.

The company made the announcement in a blog post, explaining that as spoofing attempts increase in both frequency and sophistication, liveness detection is becoming a necessary feature for facial recognition video systems.

According to the company, fraudsters attempting to spoof these systems often use a combination of an illegally obtained ID and a selfie printout.

But these attempts can also get more elaborate, with attackers deploying 3D masks, puppets, wax heads, sculptures, and even robotic heads with fake muscles to spoof facial recognition systems.

The new version of SmartFace was tested against several types of biometric spoofing attempts and was trained using hundreds of thousands of images of real faces and real attacks to make the liveness detection feature as accurate as possible.

After detecting a biometric spoofing attack, SmartFace will now send a notification to an administrator in real-time.

Innovatrics has been working on passive liveness detection for some time now, typically for authentication scenarios, claiming earlier this month the technology can deliver onboarding completion rates of 99 percent, as opposed to 63 percent for active liveness detection.

The company’s facial recognition platform is reportedly among the most accurate and efficient available commercially, with Innovatrics recently announcing SmartFace can process videos 25 times faster than it would take to watch them.

For more information about Innovatrics’ goals and future biometric plans, you can read this guest post by the company’s Head of Global Sales Peter Martis.

ID R&D patents combined behavioral and face biometrics for frictionless MFA

ID R&D has been awarded a patent for multi-modal biometric authentication building on existing login processes on mobile devices.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the ‘System Method and Apparatus for Multi-Modal Biometric Authentication and Liveness Detection’ patent, effective June 1, which consists of behavioral biometric analysis of the user’s typing pattern as a password is entered. A selfie is captured at the same time for face biometric matching, followed by ID R&D’s single frame passive liveness detection to prevent spoof attacks. The process does not require extra time or effort on the part of the user, the company says.

“There is a growing, and in some cases regulatory, requirement for strong customer authentication that includes at least two independent security factors. Consumers understand the risk but also have a great desire for fast and effortless experiences,” says ID R&D Chief Scientific Officer Konstantin Simonchik. “Biometrics provide the unique ability to tick all the boxes and will play an important role in the future of passwordless security.”

Nearly one quarter of people surveyed for The Ponemon Institute’s 2020 State of Password and Authentication Security Behaviors Report said two-factor authentication (2FA) methods like SMS and mobile authentication apps are very inconvenient, ID R&D notes. Passive biometric technologies like typing analysis and ID R&D’s liveness detection provide a natural and effortless way to implement the added security of an additional authentication factor, the company argues.

ID R&D also says the intellectual property protection validates its commitment to providing unique products to strengthen security without introducing friction into user experiences.

Biometrics accomplishments adding up for IrisGuard and Veridas

A pair of biometrics providers with substantially different missions are celebrating major milestones, with IrisGuard reaching the 20th anniversary of its iris biometrics for humanitarian assistance distribution, and Veridas trumpeting its status as the only vendor participating in 1:1 and 1:N face biometric and speaker recognition evaluations.

IrisGuard CEO Imad Malhas writes about the company’s journey since 2001, which has included the first-ever use of iris biometrics with an ATM and the integration of blockchain with post offices, financial services and mobile wallets.

“We have led many world’s firsts, our iris cameras are used as the gold standard by various academic bodies for studies and research and our software has evolved to an integrated, global assistance payment platform,” Malhas says.

He thanks IrisGuard’s partners and its teams in Jordan, the UK and the U.S., and expresses excitement for the company’s future.

On the other end of the market-longevity spectrum, Veridas was launched through a partnership between BBVA and Das-Nano in 2017, and reviews the growing number of benchmarks and standards its biometric technology, for both face and voice, has been evaluated against.

Veridas participates in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST’s) Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT), both in the verification (1:1) and identification (1:N) tracks, as well as NIST’s 1:1 speaker recognition benchmark.

The company also notes that it received confirmation of compliance to ISO presentation attack detection (PAD) standards from iBeta testing, and has also been certified for the ISO 27001 information security standard.

UK age-verification firms join related EU project

Members of a UK online safety association are part of an EU group working to create a reliable age verification and parental consent system online across Europe.

OSTIA, the online safety tech industry association, said two of its members will participate in euCONSENT, a consortium formed to launch a cross-border biometric age verification process in 2022.

The OSTIA members, Age Verification Providers Association (AVPA) and Age Check Certification Scheme have joined euCONSENT, which is working to, among other things, deal with ages of consent that range from 13 to 18 in EU member nations.

(UK-based Yoti, a member of OSTIA, this month reported it has improved the accuracy of its biometrics-based age estimation algorithm for children 13 years old to 15 years old.)

The goal is to be able to do that, without knowing the identities of the children, on a total budget of €1.47 million ($1.8 million).

The AVPA is a global trade group made up of independent vendors selling privacy-protecting, age-assurance technology. The certification scheme is a guide for vendors selling age-restricted products, content and services.

Both have proposed a process that is based on the views of European children. They are working with university professors and legal experts. The approach could eventually be extended globally.

The UK government has introduced legislation that would enforce age restrictions for social media registration.

Yoti updated transparency report on biometric age verification shows further accuracy gains

Yoti has improved the accuracy of its biometrics-based age estimation algorithm for the important 13 to 15 year age group, according to internal benchmarking.

The company updated its transparency efforts for its age scanning accuracy, publishing a summary version of its Age Estimation white paper to its website.

The white paper provides details on Yoti’s efforts to build up biometric training data for its model, information on how people can opt out of research and development projects, and reviews the transparency efforts the company makes with the onboarding and opt-out screens of the Yoti app.

Compared to Yoti’s previous age estimation transparency report, the company’s algorithm has reduced the mean average error (MAE) rate for 13-to-15 year-olds from 1.60 to 1.35, and its overall MAE rate across all age groups from 2.28 to 2.19.

Yoti recommends setting the age threshold higher than the age of interest, in order to create a ‘buffer’ for “an acceptably low false positive rate.”

The company’s biometric age estimation technology was recently deployed for a pilot by several UK supermarkets to prevent underage alcohol purchases.

A.I. Tech’s face mask detection app a finalist at Benchmark Innovation awards

AI-Facedetect, an A.I. Tech product which uses advanced machine learning and deep learning algorithms to detect faces with or without masks, was among the finalists at the 2021 edition of the Benchmark Innovation award.

The company said in a blog post that the app was recognized for its relevance in the present global health context where people struggle to comply with the new normal of wearing masks in public spaces because of COVID-19. AI-Facedetect was named a finalist in the ‘Analytics Solutions’ category and it is the fourth time that an A.I. Tech product is receiving the accolade.

Per the post, the face mask detection solution, which is different from facial recognition, has proven useful in places including sales offices, retail stores, hospital premises, leisure spots, transportation facilities and other public service venues because of the exigencies brought about by the pandemic.

AI-Facedetect ensures the safety of customers, staff and contractors, the company says, as it can detect faces within a given area with the ability to generate an alert about whether people within the area are wearing masks or not.

The app, which the company says can be used both indoors and outdoors with the same accuracy level, is supported on more than 20 hardware platforms, and can be used as an edge biometrics application on cameras from companies such as Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Techwin, Hikvision, Mobotix, and Panasonic among others.

Veridium, Veriff and SAFR each announce biometrics integration partnerships

  • Veridium joins IGEL Ready ecosystem

Veridium has announced it has officially joined the IGEL Ready program as a technology partner to bring its biometrics to enterprise cloud environments.

IGEL Ready is an ecosystem of over 100 technology partners focusing on the development of software and peripheral solutions designed for use with the IGEL operating system (OS), a cloud workspace platform.

The addition of Veridium to the group will now see the company integrate its biometric, passwordless solutions for device verification within the IGEL OS.

“Device authentication is a critical component to any security strategy and is particularly important at the endpoint — whether in the cloud, VDI or DaaS,” explained Veridium CEO Ismet Geri. “By validating VeridiumID for use with IGEL OS-powered devices, we are helping to provide a simple, yet powerful layer of security to safeguard applications and data from growing cyber threats.”

  • Veriff partners with Modularbank

As part of the new collaboration, Veriff’s compliance and know-your-customer (KYC) offering will be integrated within Modularbank’s product ecosystem.

This will enable Modularbank customers to utilize Veriff’s biometric authentication solutions to verify themselves during the bank’s onboarding process.

“Identity verification is an integral part of the customer onboarding process for any financial service provider, yet is often seen as a cumbersome task for both the provider and the customer,” commented Modularbank co-founder Rivo Uibo. “By integrating Veriff’s software, our clients can now automate the identity verification and KYC processes, leading to a simplified sign-up procedure for their new customers as well as an improvement in financial crime detection rates.”

  • SAFR’s facial recognition deployed by Convergint

RealNetworks has partnered with Convergint to add its SAFR facial recognition solution to Convergint’s portfolio of integrated security solutions.

Thanks to the new partnership, SAFR computer vision SDK and web APIs will be now offered to Convergint’s customers for biometric access control, perimeter protection, and more.

“We chose to partner with SAFR for many reasons, key among them is the trusted performance of their facial recognition algorithm,” said Amir Shechter, Executive Director of Advanced Solutions for Convergint Technologies.

Keyless biometrics certified for FIDO compliance by Fime

Keyless’ biometric enterprise security platform has been certified to the FIDO Alliance’s biometrics standards, with testing carried out by Fime.

The proprietary face biometrics technology from Keyless is now among technologies from only seven vendors to have biometric software certified by FIDO. The FIDO Biometrics Certification validates the compliance of Keyless’ technology with industry standards for user verification and spoof detection accuracy.

“FIDO Alliance’s Biometric Component Certification Program provides customers with a standardized way to trust the biometric systems they rely upon for fingerprint, iris, face, and/or voice recognition,” states Dr. Rae Rivera, FIDO Alliance’s director of certification. “By achieving FIDO Biometric Component Certification, Keyless has demonstrated, through comprehensive testing by an accredited third-party lab, that its facial recognition technology can reliably authenticate users correctly, and detect various kinds of fraudulent authentication attempts.”

Keyless says its novel application of privacy-enhancing technologies to biometrics enable secure biometric authentication without storing, processing, or managing biometric data. The company also joined the FIDO Alliance months ago to support the advancement of interoperable standards for passwordless authentication.

1Kosmos’ BlockID biometric solution meets NIST standard in Kantara compliance test

1Kosmos recently announced its BlockID biometric solution has received the NIST SP 800–63–3 Class of Approval at IAL2 and AAL2 from Kantara Initiative.

The approval indicates 1Kosmos’ use of best practices in digital identity management and operational practices.

BlockID provides a distributed digital identity platform to companies for authentication against verified identities. The solution integrates several tools from 1Kosmos, including BlockID Workforce, BlockID Verify, and BlockID Customers, each targeting a different type of users.

Kantara is an international nonprofit whose vision is to grow the market for trustworthy use of identity and personal data, with the goal to ‘see the equitable and transparent exchange of identity and personal data for mutual value.’

According to Hemen Vimadalal, Founder and CEO of 1Kosmos, the new NIST certification achieved by the company can help it address increased demand for biometric solutions worldwide due to the pandemic.

Ambiq announces new voice biometrics tool for IoT integration

Ambiq has unveiled a new tool to help manufacturers integrate voice commands into their IoT (Internet of Things) devices.

Dubbed Voice-on-SPOT (VoS) Kit, the new solution aims to deliver the company’s complete ultra-low-power solution at both the microcontrollers (MCU) and the system levels for edge processing. SPOT refers to Ambiq’s Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology.

The Voice-on-SPOT Kit integrates both Ambiq’s hardware and software with peripherals and third-party IP. Its capabilities include voice biometrics and signal processing using DSP Concepts Audio Weaver, Sensory VoiceHub, and Retune DSP VoiceSpot.

According to Marc Miller, the Director of Solutions Marketing at Ambiq, this is the perfect moment to release the VoS Kit for the company, as the speech and voice recognition market is experiencing substantial growth.

“Voice is the most convenient but least utilized input modality to interact with a product,” Miller explained. “The mass adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in our everyday lives has accelerated the shift toward voice applications.”

The VoS Kit will now enable voice and audio capability integration within battery-powered devices via Always-on-Voice (AoV) technology.

Potential applications include remote controls, gaming controllers, smart sensors, smartwatches, remote mics, and health trackers.

The first VoS Kit, which is built on the Apollo3 Blue Plus MCU, is already commercially available. The device features AoV capabilities with application and cloud service-driven options for one or two mics, as well as signal processing, wake word/command detection, codec, and Bluetooth LE (BLE) communication.

NEC accelerates face biometrics 20X with neuroscience-inspired AI engine

NEC Corporation has developed a way to speed up its NeoFace biometrics by up to 20 times while maintaining accuracy rates with a new neuroscience-inspired artificial intelligence technology.

The new AI engine accelerates the speed of applications with real-time analysis of time series data, by accumulating data until it reaches a certain confidence threshold, rather than requiring a particular, previously-fixed amount of data, like typical face biometrics and cyberattack detection engines.

The technology is based on human brain activity when making complex decisions involving sequential accumulation of evidence, and a Sequential Probability Ratio Test (SPRT) technique first proposed in the 1940s and applied to quality control in manufacturing. Neurons in the parietal lobe of the brain’s cerebellar cortex have been found to accumulate evidence in a way reminiscent of SPRT in a recent study, NEC explains.

NEC’s ‘SPRT-based algorithm that Treat As Nth-Order Markov Series’ (SPRT-TANDEM) innovation enables it to overcome the strict prerequisites that have made it difficult to deploy the SPRT in real-world scenarios, the company says.

NEC NeoFace is the core of the company’s Bio-IDiom biometric authentication portfolio, which was recently rolled out in a trial with an airport and tourist destinations in Japan.

The same technique can also be applied to cyberattack analysis and other technologies involving time series data to speed them up by similar amounts, and the company will consider further application areas, according to the announcement.

GBT Technologies developing long-range, real-time biometrics and object detection

GBT Technologies is developing an integrated real-time image analysis system with biometric capabilities for CCTV cameras, recorded videos and images, the company announced.

The project is an integration of GBT’s xCalibre image analysis software and its Infinia long range radio system.

xCalibre is intended to enable the real-time collection and analysis of data for object recognition and biometric identification. GBT wants xCalibre to be able to identify people with biometrics regardless of the presence of facial or body covers, as well as detect concealed objects of interest. The system is based on an image recognition patent recently filed by GBT, and the company says it will also build an advanced cybersecurity protocol to protect the data it collects.

The development of high-performance radio transceiver system Infinia is likewise ongoing, according to the announcement. Infinia is designed for high bandwidth and low latency similar to 5G networks to support robust, long-range networks for data and audio communication.

In addition to the challenges of researching, developing and implementing the biometric system, GBT says it will need to raise capital to support its efforts, and be granted regulatory approval, as well as form a strategic partnership to have it manufactured, sold and distributed.

Always-on, low-power biometrics partnership formed by AIStorm and Tower Semiconductor

AIStorm and Tower Semiconductor have announced a new partnership focusing on the development of a new always-on edge imager technology.

Always-on imagers, which draw negligible power until an event like the presentation of a fingerprint or face biometric, a wake word, or a specific action is detected, can perform machine learning operations on the device after wake-up to eliminate the need for additional components, according to the company announcement.

As part of the collaboration, AIStorm’s new AI-in-imager products will incorporate AIStorm’s electron multiplication architecture and Tower’s Hi-K VIA capacitor memory, instead of digital calculations.

This will allow the components to perform artificial intelligence (AI) computation at the pixel level, as well as help manufacturers save on the silicon real estate, multiple die packaging costs, and power required by competing digital systems.

The Hi-K VIA capacitors will be built in the metal layers, to allow the AI to operate directly from the pixel matrix and retain optimal performance on both pixel density and size.

“This new imager technology opens up a whole new avenue of always-on functionality,” said Dr. Avi Strum, SVP of the sensors and displays business unit at Tower Semiconductor.

In traditional imager solutions, AI processors are usually placed outside the pixel matrix, causing always-on imaging solutions to continuously have to detect pixel changes and forward digital information to memory and an AI subsystem located outside the imager. This, in turn, results in numerous false alerts and high power consumption.

In AIStorm’s solution, however, electrons are multiplied directly instead of being converted to a digital number, thanks to Tower Semiconductor’s low-leakage VIA capacitor technology.

This capability for local AI pixel coupling introduces a new dimension to edge imaging, enabling an immediate, intelligent AI response to pixel changes for the first time.

US military integrates biometrics-enabled watchlist with DoD ABIS

Current DoD biometric initiatives, including the expansion of DoD’s Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) were outlined at a recent online event for members of the Security Industry Association (SIA).

Colonel Senodja ‘Frank’ Sundiata-Walker, who is a project manager for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) biometrics, addressed members in the event hosted by SIA’s Identity and Biometric Technology Advisory Board (IBTAB) and sponsored by NEC America and Idemia National Security Solutions (NSS).

DoD is working on multi-modal fusion matching, and wants to further improve its biometric face-matching capability through artificial intelligence and machine learning development. While fingerprints remain the most widely-used biometric modality for DoD, Walker notes that the ability to capture facial images or threat actors, if matched by recognition accuracy, could significantly enhance the U.S. military’s ability to deny them anonymity. Face biometrics capture technology has also been improving, with long-range and infrared cameras enabling imaging at a distance and in challenging conditions.

Voice biometrics are increasingly captured by American armed forces, but remain a small share of DoD’s total biometric records.

The work on developing a device with a small form factor for capturing palm print biometrics was also reviewed by Walker.

The Department’s Biometrics-enabled watchlist (BEWL) has been integrated with the DoD ABIS to promote an open, modular architecture and avoid vendor lock-in as it expands the capability.

Walker also shared some of the longer-term opportunities for research and advanced technology contracts coming up, including technologies for new modalities, faces in crowds, and non-traditional latent DNA collection. DoD also wants to push matching capabilities closer to the network edge to deliver responses to biometric queries more quickly to soldiers in the field.

NEC’s Benji Hutchinson asked about the possibility of DoD standing up a marketplace to provide its divisions with interoperable solutions, and Walker replied that with proprietary biometric templates and a lack of backwards compatibility causing problems, the Department is focussed on aligning its systems around a unified standard.

Idemia’s Theresa Wu asked about DoD’s efforts to identify threats online, and Walker discussed the Department’s integration of different capabilities to that end.

These Weeks’ News by Categories

Access Control:

Consumer Electronics:

Financial Services:

Civil / National ID:

Government Services & Elections:

Facial Recognition:

Fingerprint Recognition:

Iris / Eye Recognition

Voice Biometrics

Liveness Detection

Behavioral Biometrics

Mobile Biometrics

Biometrics Industry Events

ID4Africa LiveCast — Building Trust in the Democratic Process: May 26, 2021

3rd Digital Transformation in Banking Summit: May 27, 2021 — May 28, 2021

ATMINSEC ATM Security Conference and Exhibition: Jun 1, 2021 — Jun 2, 2021

ENBANTEC Retail Banking Conference EMEA: Jun 2, 2021 — Jun 3, 2021

EAB workshop on fingerprint image quality (NFIQ2.1): Jun 15, 2021 — Jun 16, 2021

FinTech Connect Toronto: Jun 15, 2021 — Jun 16, 2021

Identiverse: Jun 21, 2021 — Jun 23, 2021

Aviation Festival Asia: Jun 22, 2021 — Jun 23, 2021

Identify 2021: Jun 29, 2021

IFSEC International Connect 2021: Jul 12, 2021 — Jul 14, 2021

Security Exhibition & Conference 2021: Jul 21, 2021 — Jul 23, 2021

2nd CCTV EXPO: Jul 29, 2021 — Jul 30, 2021

5th India Homeland Security Expo: Jul 29, 2021 — Jul 30, 2021

6th International Police Expo: Jul 29, 2021 — Jul 30, 2021

The Security Event: Sep 7, 2021 — Sep 9, 2021

ICT Spring Europe 2021: Sep 14, 2021 — Sep 15, 2021

Forensics Europe Expo: Sep 14, 2021 — Sep 16, 2021

European Biometrics Max Snijder, Research, and Industry Awards 2021: Sep 15, 2021

BIOSIG 2021–20th International Conference of the Biometrics Special Interest Group: Sep 15, 2021 — Sep 17, 2021

The Biometrics Institute’s calendar of events for 2021:


  • ‘Redefining Biometrics for the Next Decade of Digital Work and Life’ webinar recording:

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Paradigm is an ecosystem that incorporates a venture fund, a research agency and an accelerator focused on crypto, DLT, neuroscience, space technologies, robotics, and biometrics — technologies that combined together will alter how we perceive reality.

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