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Taking Biometrics at Face Value

A German company is making cyber-waves in the biometric technology field at Comdex, the biggest computer fair in the US


Fingerprint and facial recognition technology will soon be widely used in Europe

Cognitec AG's stand is suddenly teaming with potential customers, as well as by venture capitalists. The relatively small German face recognition software company's technology is among the hottest on display.

Companies are starting to contemplate just how to deploy new-age and effective security systems after September 11. Security vendors say their biometric identification systems will soon be everywhere.

Cognitec's software makes communication between human and machine more convenient and secure. The software developers have created image processing algorithms and converted them into practical applications.

The company's software works in conjunction with a camera and recognises people without touch. It is also completely automatic and only allows authorised people access to protected areas in buildings or computer systems. "There are many other areas of everybody’s daily life where facial recognition will be used to conveniently adjust the environment to personal needs," claims Cognitec.

Human-Machine Interfacing

Cognitec develops what is called biometric software. Boimetric means that the software can identify people by their physical characteristics. Traditional identification systems on the other hand, check whether a valid indentification or key is being used or whether secret PINs or passwords are known.

The use of biometric software has obvious security advantages. It eliminates the misuse of lost or stolen cards and, in certain applications it allows PINs to be replaced with biometric characteristics which makes financial and computer access applications more convenient. Operators could also benefit from improved efficiency in situations where access control to buildings or strong rooms is automated.

"Facial recognition is playing an outstanding role in biometrics: it is the most user-friendly and natural way of identifying people. Therefore, facial reacognition technology will be found in a variety of devices in our daily life, from mobile phones to toys and cars. This is something that is going to be in the door frames in cars in a couple of years," said Bolko Graf von Haslingen, the general manager of Cognitec, who says interest has skyrocketed since the terror attacks on the US.

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