Face recognition system still not in the best light

Our test tool in this review, Saf2000, came bundled with Visionics FaceIt facial biometrics software, acquired last year by Identix. We tested it with the Panasonic Authenticam.

FaceIt calculates an identity code by measuring 14 out of 80 facial landmarks'measurements between lips, eyes, mouth and other features. Slight changes in appearance from shaving or a haircut, for example, would not require re-enrollment.

Initial FaceIt enrollment took a long time, however, and the software cost upwards of $30,000. Furthermore, lighting had to be ideal for accurate identification.

Some biometric techniques have been obscure until now because of the complexity of integrating them. For example, I recently tried a vocal biometrics product from Vocent Solutions Inc. of Mountain View, Calif.

Vocent officials acknowledged that vocal biometrics is too immature for network or perimeter security, mainly because of infrastructure complexity. But they said they believe vocal biometrics is ready and perfect for telephony.

Vocal authentication creates a spectrum of characteristics of a recognized caller's vocal track, such as shape and length of spoken sounds. Those characteristics, combined with gender, age, accent, pronunciation, speaking rate and average speaking volume, validate a caller.

I found that the technology worked well and was surprisingly fluid. It seemed to understand me as easily as I understood it. Licenses cost about $25 a user and, within a couple of years, could set a lower-cost trend in biometrics.

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