Knee X-rays can be used for identification

March 26th, 2009 - 8:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 26 (IANS) Forget complex retinal laser scanning or even computerised iris recognition; the way forward for biometric validation is a quick X-ray snapshot of a person’s knees.
Lior Shamir of the Lab of Genetics, National Institute on Aging (NIA) and colleagues working with State University of New York computer engineer Salim Rahimi, explain that identification of individuals often requires focusing on unique features such as their face, fingerprints or retina.

Internal body parts are obviously invisible to the unaided eye but Shamir and colleagues have now demonstrated that knee X-rays can be used for identification purposes.

The approach rapidly analyses the X-ray images using the Wnd-charm algorithm, which has previously been used to diagnose clinical conditions of the knee joints.

The advantage of this kind of imaging is that it would be so much more difficult for a fraudster to spoof the knees or other internal body part in the way that they might with artificial fingerprints or contact lenses.

The team points out that the algorithm can correctly identify a given pair of knees and match it to a specific individual in the database even if the original X-ray were taken several years earlier.

Identifiable features correspond to specific persons, rather than the present clinical condition of the joint, the researchers said, according to a NIA release.

The Wnd-charm algorithm, which is publicly available, is a multi-purpose image classification method that looks at a large set of image features, including high-contrast features, textures, and the statistical distribution of pixels in the image.

The study was published in the International Journal of Biometrics.

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