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Protecting Eyes and Identities


Arun Ross is looking specifically at the iris of the eye, which surrounds the pupil. His research aims to prevent people from duplicating the iris of another person or modifying their own irises in order to fool a biometric system.

A project in Ross’s Integrated Pattern Recognition and Biometrics Lab, called Presentation Attack Detection, aims to detect various types of biometric replicas an adversary may use, including fake eyeballs, cosmetic contact lenses or photos of an iris.

To detect a fake or modified iris, Ross and his team have developed a powerful algorithm that takes a more nuanced look at the fidelity of an iris. This system successfully detects many types of fake attacks at nearly 100 percent accuracy.

This kind of research could help prevent unauthorized access to smartphones or bank accounts or catch people who are trying to circumvent a biometric watch list—ensuring new possibilities come with built-in safeguards.

Biometrics is becoming an increasingly common, and critical, component of our daily lives, and some of the nation’s foremost biometrics researchers at Michigan State University are leading exploration into applications that could make lives better by detecting health issues, preventing identity theft and enhancing security.

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