Startup launches first iris-retina biometric system

“An eye for an eye,” as the old saying goes … David Muller, former founder and CEO of Summit Technology-the eye-laser company at the forefront of the laser vision-correction “revolution”-has traded vision care for vision-based security.

WALTHAM, MA - “An eye for an eye,” as the old saying goes … David Muller, former founder and CEO of Summit Technology-the eye-laser company at the forefront of the laser vision-correction “revolution”-has traded vision care for vision-based security. His latest venture, Retica Systems, has developed what the company says is the first retinal biometric security system based on iris pattern recognition software. Retica’s flagship product, Cyclops, is now in beta release.

“In our post 9/11 world, security in every industry is on high alert”, said David Muller, founder and CEO of Retica Systems. “The only acceptable solutions are those that are highly secure, reliable, and spoof-proof. With the announcement of Cyclops, Retica has set the bar for biometrics.”

Retinal identification, often confused with the less-precise iris identification process, has long been considered by experts to be the most accurate and imposter proof biometric. The human retinal vasculature is safely protected from intentional or accidental tampering. Stable from birth to death, the retinal vasculature disappears within seconds of the cessation of life, thereby insuring that the captured image was obtained from a living user.

“Many experts have incorrectly used iris and retina interchangeably to describe the biometric eye scan,” said John Marshall, founder and scientific advisor for Retica. “Iris scans are being used today in real world applications but there are problems inherent in the technology. Because Cyclops takes only a small section of the iris data and fuses it with the retinal data, the identification process is insensitive to all environmental perturbations including ambient light, making it ideal for the majority of biometric applications.”

Unique in its ability to capture and process retinal vessel patterns, Cyclops combines specialized aspheric optics, the physiologic optics of the eye, and advances in LED and digital imaging technology to capture accurate images of the biometric pattern at distances up to one meter. The digitized output from the imaging device is then analyzed using Retica’s proprietary and patented software protocol. The whole process, from enrollment to identification, is performed in a matter of seconds.

Cyclops provides security by preventing unauthorized access to physical facilities, computer networks, and medical records. It is designed to streamline all identification processes and simplifies the user experience by eliminating the need for multiple passwords, ID cards, keys, and other personal identification that are vulnerable to identity theft, in industries ranging from government and transportation to commercial buildings, medical institutions, and financial services.

In its initial release, Cyclops is available for physical access and other high security applications. The Retica iris recognition software is capable of analyzing images captured using all other commercial iris cameras. Cyclops will be sold as a total hardware and software solution or the software may be licensed for incorporation into existing biometric systems. A handheld version is currently being tested and is due out at the end of 2006.

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