Improving iris recognition with liquid lenses

Improving iris recognition with liquid lens technology



Iris identification and verification systems have become one of the most accurate biometric modalities due to the iris’s unique and distinguishable features. Technical advances have significantly reduced the cost and size of these systems, leading to an increase in the value proposition for several industries. Image resolution and quality of focus are essential in deciphering the complex texture of the iris. Conventional iris recognition devices require bulky and high-cost systems to overcome the optical constraints of mechanical lens-based cameras. This paper describes how the use of a liquid lens device can overcome the optical limitations of traditional systems, leading to a low-cost, smaller, and faster system

Introduction to liquid lenses 

Inspired by the functionality of a human eye, liquid lenses offer manufacturers and OEMs improved speed and reliability over mechanical solutions. The human eye can adjust to the surrounding environment at incredibly fast speeds; similarly, Corning’s liquid lenses emulate the eyes’ fluid and adaptable characteristics to create a rapid response to variable circumstances. This process is made possible by a technology called electrowetting, which uses an electrical signal to manipulate a liquid solution into a workable lens.

Traditional mechanical solutions are limited in their ability to continuously and reliably deliver sharp images. Corning® Varioptic® Lenses offer innovative solutions to complex optical challenges. Varioptic Lenses enable fast focus and micro-focus without moving parts. Traditional camera systems require moving parts which begin to wear down and fail over the lifetime of the device. In comparison, liquid lenses function without the use of mechanically moving parts, eliminating much of the maintenance typically associated with vision systems.

Biometrics for personal identification systems

Biometrics is the science and technology of measuring and analyzing biological data of the human body such as voice patterns, fingerprints, hand or facial patterns, iris patterns, or DNA. Of these examples, the iris carries very distinctive information due to its complex texture. The annular region of the eye, bounded by the pupil and the sclera, is formed during fetal development and stabilizes during the first two years of life. Each iris is distinct, and in a similar fashion to fingerprints, even the irises of identical twins are different. This unique biological data is extremely difficult to tamper with, which makes it an ideal identification feature for applications such as:

- Commercial uses: ATM and other secured financial transactions, computer login, electronic data security, ecommerce, patient ID in healthcare, device unlock/login, physical access control, and credit card transaction security 

- Governmental uses: national ID card, border and passport control, driver’s license, and social Security

- Forensic uses: criminal investigation and suspect identification.

Following the digitalization of society and the associated growing need for more efficient and reliable authentication, the iris recognition biometric market is expected to witness double digit growth from 2017 to 2024. The global biometrics market is forecast to reach $82.8 billion by 2027, growing at a 19.3 percent CAGR from an estimated $24.1 billion in 2020. Iris recognition is estimated to grow at an 18.8 percent CAGR and reach $10.3 billion by the end of 2027.

Iris biometrics is extremely accurate and easier to perform than similarly precise analysis such as DNA. However, it is not as widely adopted as fingerprint recognition - which is less accurate and easier to tamper with - due to the iris-based recognition system cost. To perform correctly, iris-based recognition systems need to capture high-quality images, which often results in a complex and expensive apparatus. Image resolution and quality of focus are key to deciphering the complex texture of the iris. Use of a liquid lens-based iris recognition device can overcome

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