Iris Changes Complicate Biometric Scans

This is an interesting news article in Nature that describes alterations in the iris in individuals over time.  We’ve always been told that irises do not change as we age, but that simply did not make sense to a number of people I’ve spoken with in the past.  Certainly there were questions of trauma and other changes, but aging itself certainly could have induced changes in the iris.

Now as reported in Nature, a study in IEEE Conf. Comput. Vision Pattern Recog. shows direct evidence that a single enrollment is not acceptable for absolute proof of identity over time.  This is important as biometric identification through iris scans are starting to become more common.  I’ve had to submit to biometric iris scans for some consulting work and they are starting to be used for passport control entry into certain countries.

This paper also demonstrates yet again, that previous assumptions about the nature of our understanding can be problematic at best and outright dangerous at worst.  The retinal community saw this with retinal remodeling and now the biometric community is seeing it now as an early assumption led to the field laboring under the misunderstanding of static biology.  My odds are on more change and alteration in various aspects of biology from genetics to protein turnover and more.  Biological systems are not static and should not be assumed to be static.


Image credit:  Bryan William Jones, Ph.D.