THE NEW FACE OF IDENTITY PROTECTION: YOU
Innovative New Technology Developed at UH Could Play Role in National
HOUSTON, July 30, 2007—Trying to remember dozens of personal
identification numbers (PIN), passwords and credit card numbers
may not be necessary for much longer, thanks to a University of
Houston professor and his team.
Taking a radically new approach, UH Eckhard Pfeiffer Professor
Ioannis Kakadiaris and his Computational Biomedicine Lab (CBL) developed
the URxD face recognition software that uses a three-dimensional
snapshot of a person’s face to create a unique identifier,
a biometric. Shown in government testing to be tops in its field,
URxD can be used for everything from gaining access to secure facilities
to authorizing credit card purchases. The identification procedure
is as effortless as taking a photograph.
URxD leads the pack for 3D face recognition solutions based on
the face’s shape, according to the results of the Face Recognition
Vendor Test (FRVT 2006). The National Institute of Standards and
Technology conducted the rigorous testing for FRVT 2006, which was
sponsored by several U.S. government agencies. FRVT 2006 is the
first independent performance benchmark for 3-D face recognition
“Accuracy is the name of the game in 3-D face recognition,”
Kakadiaris said. “What makes our system so accurate is the
strength of the variables that we use to describe a person’s
“Remembering dozens of personal identification numbers and
passwords is not the solution to identity theft. PINs and passwords
are not only inconvenient to memorize, but also are impractical
to safeguard. In essence, they merely tie two pieces of information
together; once the secret is compromised, the rest follows. The
solution is to be able to tie your private information to your person
in a way that cannot be compromised.”
The software and technology also could play a role in national
“With the growing concern for security at the personal, national
and international level, the University of Houston is pleased that
Dr. Kakadiaris and his team have demonstrated a very promising technology
for personal identification,” said John Warren, UH associate
general counsel for research and intellectual property management.
“We look forward to its adoption by government and industry.”
URxD inventors are hoping for corporate interest in bringing the
technology, now at the advanced prototype stage, to the marketplace.
“This technology will have a positive impact on some of today’s
hottest issues,” Kakadiaris said. “Imagine a day when
you simply sit in front of your computer, and it recognizes who
you are. Everything will be both easier and more secure, from online
purchases to parental control of what Web sites your children can
Note: Use of results from the Facial Recognition Vendor Test 2006
does not constitute the U.S. government’s endorsement of any
For more information about the Computational Biomedicine Lab, visit
For more information about the URxD, visit www.cbl.uh.edu/URxD.
For more information about the Face Recognition Vendor Test, visit
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research
and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers
and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate,
civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university
in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and
service with more than 35,000 students.
About the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
The UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, with nearly
400 faculty members and approximately 4,000 students, offers bachelor’s,
master’s and doctoral degrees in the natural sciences, computational
sciences and mathematics. Faculty members in the departments of
biology and biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, geosciences,
mathematics and physics have internationally recognized collaborative
research programs in association with UH interdisciplinary research
centers, Texas Medical Center institutions and national laboratories.
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