IARPA contracts SRI to support biometric security systems protection

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity’s (IARPA) National Intelligence Directorate has awarded a contract to SRI International to research and develop a new technology to protect biometric security systems.

The contract has been awarded as part of IARPA’s Odin programme that seeks to improve presentation attack detection capabilities of biometric systems.

Under the $12.5m contract, SRI will develop a prototype multi-physiological joint optimisation and liveness nuances for identity ratification (MJÖLNIR) system to defeat known and unknown presentation attacks on biometric security systems such as fingerprint, iris and face scanners.

The company has formed a team of experts in human physiology, dynamic 3D imaging, 3D shape and behavioural dynamics modelling and system development, evaluation and deployment in support of the four-year contract.

SRI Odin team principal investigator and senior research scientist Jeffrey Lubin said: "Biometric systems will not be successful unless technical solutions providing reliable but low-cost detection of currently unknown presentation attacks can be developed.

"We believe the dynamic biometrics developed in this IARPA Odin programme, which includes deep collaboration between SRI's computer sciences and biosciences researchers, will greatly expand the range of uses for biometric systems, benefiting people, businesses and governments around the world."

The inability to detect presentation attacks has restricted the use of biometric systems to low-risk applications such as phone security and operations managed by a human.

The market for biometric sensors is expected to grow to $24.4bn by 2020.