Wednesday, 13 Oct, 2010 Science

Researchers Used Computer Program to Identify People by the Image of Their Ears


A team of researchers from the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science decided to use a computer program dubbed "image ray transform" to identify people by their ears.

It is worth mentioning that the program showed a 99.6 percent success rate. It managed to automatically locate and isolate ears in 252 pictures of peoples' heads.

Prof. Mark Nixon, one of the scientists involved in the research, said that the ears represent a good biometric indicator. He mentioned that the structure of the ear does not change as the person gets older. In addition, the ears are not affected by facial expressions.

It would be interesting to note that the software program used in the research uses a "pixel based ray tracing technique" and a subset of the laws of optics. It examines the way that light reflects off of objects in photos, informs Gizmag.

The "image ray transform" can identify and extract tubular and circular features from the pictures, for example helix (the curved outer rim), of a person's ear. Afterwards the program makes an isolated picture of the ear and then can identify its owner by matching the obtained picture to one stored in a database of ear images.

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