This long-range iris scanner will ruin criminals’ careers


credit: Marvel Studios/Paramount Pictures

Even if you’ve never had your eyes scanned for security reasons, you’ll be familiar with the process from action, sci-fi or secret agent films. Just think back to that one scene from The Avengers where the bewitched Hawkeye used an eye scan to steal iridium. Yeah just like that, except without all the eye-gouging.

In the real world, you have different kinds of eye scanners, namely the retina scanner, and the iris scanner. A retina scanner is a biometric scanner that recognises a person’s unique pattern of retina blood vessels. A iris scanner is a bit more complex. It’s a biometric identification process that uses mathematical pattern-recognition techniques to recognise a person’s unique iris pattern, even from a distance.

New iris scanner can recognise someone from 40 ft away

Scientists from Carnegie Mellon University have designed new iris scanner software that will be able to identify people from a distance of up to forty feet! If this technology becomes common practice, criminals can forget about their life of crime. The jig is up.


credit: Nexus

The scanner is created by biometrics specialist Marios Savvides (director of CMU’s CyLab Biometrics Centre), and uses a common Pan Tilt Zoom camera combined with state of the art Advance Shape Model software. Together, these two components ensure that the scanner can pick out specific and unique elements of a person’s iris, which is then added to a database where it will be compared to (possible) matches already saved in the system.

According to Savvides, the software could especially be useful in the field of law enforcement:

There’s a lot of potential applications [for it] … saving lives, as you can identify a possible criminal, wanted for murder or other crimes.

Whenever new technology like this is developed, I always start to feel like Winston Smith (from 1984), but seeing as it’s rather easy to track a person these days anyway, we might as well have technology that can help in the fight against crime. Check out the video from Carnegie Mellon University‘s youtube channel for more information about this cool new software!