At Pivot, our product design teams have worked on some really fascinating technology.

Take the home sleep recorder, for example. Created for physicians to offer their sleep lab patients, this recorder allows patients to record their own sleep events using patented palatal snoring analysis.

Then there’s the electric fish skinner, a consumer product that we helped two fisherman develop. Called the Skinzit, the device removes the rib bones and skin from fish, producing a clean fillet in a matter of seconds.

And then there’s the iris recognition device we helped an established research and design company develop. This biometric security device just might be one of our favorites from over the past few years.

How does iris scanning work?

Iris scans are essentially pictures of a person’s iris taken by an extremely high-powered digital camera.

The camera, or scanner, takes a picture of the eye using both regular and infrared light. This allows the scanner to see darker features that aren’t clearly visible in regular light.

The two pictures, one with ordinary light and one with infrared light, are then analyzed by a special computer program that can remove unnecessary, distracting features, and identify 240 unique features. It’s these features that are then used to identify each enrolled user.

This scan contains roughly five times more unique identifiers than a fingerprint, making it far more accurate and difficult to replicate.

After these initial pictures are taken – a process called enrollment – the data is stored within a database. Subsequent scans simply take another photograph of your eye and match it to the stored image.

Why is iris recognition so secure?

Iris recognition is highly secure for a number of reasons.

The first is that unlike a fingerprint, which does, in fact, change to a certain degree over a person’s lifetime, irises do not change.

A person’s unique iris pattern is formed by 10 months of age, and remains stable throughout a person’s life. Additionally, it’s nearly impossible that any two people will have the same iris pattern – especially since the scanners that identify a person’s iris use 240 distinct features to create the image.

Finally, biometric security experts generally agree that iris recognition is the most accurate method of identifying individuals, compared to other methods like retinal scanning, fingerprinting, facial recognition, or vocal analysis.

Advantages of the portable iris recognition system

The iris recognition device that we at Pivot helped develop was designed to be rugged, portable, and easy to use, so that it would offer some strong advantages to other devices on the market.

Perhaps one of the most important features of the device is that it works from a distance of up to 18 inches. This allows the scanner to maintain a comfortable distance from the person being scanned, unlike retinal scanning, which is highly intrusive.

The design is ambidextrous and easily portable. It costs less than other similar devices, has WiFi, 3G, and USB connectivity, and can even withstand temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit, for easy use in the field.

Identification can be performed in less than a second, and the scanner captures more than just a single iris. Instead, the scanner is capable of taking digital, dual-iris and facial images at once.

We were able to bring the product to market quickly, delivering production units in just four months by working closely with the client’s design team.

Biometric security measures, like the handheld iris scanner, can offer organizations many advantages:

  • Quick – usually within one or two seconds – and accurate identification
  • No physical contact required
  • Extremely difficult or impossible to replicate
  • Databases are kept highly secure
  • Simple to install and cost-effective to use

To learn more about how biometrics are being used, check out our infographic, “The Advantages of Biometric Security,” and read our post “Medicine in the Age of Predictive Biometrics.”