Q&A session with iris expert Salil Prabhakar

Here at Fingerprints™, we get many questions about our touchless solutions. What is the big buzz about and how does it work? We sat down with Salil Prabhakar, Director of Iris Development at Fingerprints, to have a chat and sort out some of the questions.

Hello there, Salil Prabhakar. There’s a lot of buzz out there about the new touchless solution from Fingerprints. Can you describe this biometric modality?
– Fingerprints is well known for its touch technology, which is the fingerprint sensor found in most smartphones today. We now have an additional touchless biometry called FPC ActiveIRIS®, a biometric modality that uses unique eye patterns as means of identification.

I know there are a lot of patents for your solution, but can you say anything about how it works?
– On a conceptual level, it works like this; you take a picture of the iris and you convert the picture into a mathematical representation in binary code. Then our software with advanced algorithms compare this binary code with what you have just enrolled, to determine if it is the correct person. It is an extremely secure identification method since all irises are unique, just as fingerprints. It is natural to add this biometric modality to our portfolio to give consumers possibility to choose, and to cover for all kinds of situations where either touch and/or touchless works best.


Could you please also elaborate on FPC ActiveIRIS compared to other touchless methods, or are they all the same?
-Just like with fingerprints where we have different technologies, e.g. capacitive and optical sensors, there are also different technologies for touchless. Android has had the touchless technology face recognition in their APIs since 2011 and recently we saw Apple introduce Face ID in their latest iPhone. We have our touchless technology based on the most unique part of the face, the iris, rather than on the whole face.
One big advantage of FPC ActiveIRIS is that the iris hardly changes at all during a person’s lifetime. This is a big difference compared to your face, where beard, make-up or clothes that cover your face will make your face appearance change. And whether you like it or not; age also affects your looks.
As a funny detail, twins can have similar face and DNA, but both fingerprints and irises are unique!

So out of these two different modalities, which is best?
-To answer which one is best is like answering which of your kids you love the most – both, of course!
We do not see these two modalities as competing but rather as complements to each other. From a convenience perspective, different scenarios require different modalities. Sometime a quick look is best and other times a simple touch is preferred. Combining the two it will increase the security even further, when both biometrics are required.
As Pontus Jägemalm, CTO at Fingerprints, pointed out in his recent post, “Biometric multimodality is the way to go”, I also strongly believe in multi biometric modalities.

Thanks for the chat Salil! Stay tuned for more blogposts.