Scientists are working on using blood vessels in faces to identify people

face-blood vessels

Scientists at Jadavpur University in India have formulated a method of identifying a person based on scanning the blood vessels in their face. Many of us are familiar with existing facial recognition technology but this method is quite different.

The Jadavpur scientists utilize a thermal imaging camera in order to carry out an infrared scan of a person’s face and the resulting image is processed on a computer using a special custom algorithm. The algorithm produces an image which displays even the thinnest capillaries beneath the skin.

Reports indicate that this method is 97% accurate and as you could imagine, would be quite difficult to replicate as copying a persons blood vessel structure using a mask or something of the sort seems incredibly complex.

The scientists involved with the project have also indicated that rather than solely using this technology it could be utilized alongside other forms of identification such as plain old photo ID.

97% accuracy along with other forms of ID sounds hard to beat, especially considering that the supplementary forms of ID do not have to be as simple as photo ID and could very well also be biometric in nature. What do you guys think?

[via Gizmag]

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  • Louis

    [@Darcy] I believe you’ve just made a cast-iron case !

  • [@Darcy] Argh! “Case” not cast. Hit the send key too fast. =/

  • Before fingerprints, police used a method called “microstatistical data” to identify people. It consisted of a series of exact structural measurements of the person’s build and features.

    What spelled the end of microstatistical data was a case where the data for two former convicts was identical, causing the police to chase the wrong one. Their photos were different enough to be obvious but the data measurements were identical. At that time fingerprints were already gaining popularity and that sealed them as the ID method of choice.

    The point here is that a 100% accurate method of identification is needed. Fingerprints and DNA both provide that (so far anyway. If a duplicate is ever found in either of them it will cause problems). A validity of 96% is not good enough and will never be accepted in court. I do expect it to be used by police though. A method that can narrow down the field of search with special security cameras at the crime scene? Oh yes, it will be used in investigations. They will still have to provide other evidence when taking a cast to court though.

  • Louis

    [@J.L.] I agree to your view on the (possible) to modify fingerprints (however using extreme methods).

    But I completely disagree that this method will be viable, not even in theory, since it also makes use of a “special custom (computer) algorythm”.

    That alone contaminates the theoretical method.

    Furthermore, I fail to see why anyone would even consider for a second that a person’s “blood vessel structure” would remain EXACTLY the same (that is 100 % the same) over the course of his/her lifetime — 97 % accuracy implies either one of the following 2 possibilities (the “scientists”, another word for lab technicians, for this doesn’t really sound very high tech to me, does not state exactly how they arrived at this figure, what research had already been done to support it) :

    [1] that 97 % of the population’s “”blood vessel structure” would remain 100 % the same over ANY amount of passing years,or

    [2] that in 100 % of all cases (in other words all people), the “blood vessel structure” will never deviate more than 3 % over the passage of time.

    This so far is assuming nothing is ever done to his / her (!) face.

    Now this is pure BS :

    Plastic suRgery (women, and people like M. Jackson and Latoya J) has it done all the time, and most often regularly, WILL PERMANENTLY change the “blood vessel structure”, simply because plastic surgery WILL PERMANENTLY MOVE THE EXISTING “BLOOD VESSEL STRUCTURE” SOMEWHERE ELSE !! This of course will be a much more effective and socially acceptable way to circumvent this ID technology with plausible deniability, than say, surgically removing your fingertips !

    But we’re not really talking only about the main blood arteries and bigger veins, the “advanced computer special algorythm” also includes even the tiniest “below the skin capillaries” : These probably change on a daily basis !!!

    And slap someone around enough, get into enough barfights, fall down the stairs, bump into the wall, sleep only in one position etc etc, in addition, to in fact just by living, I daresay the movement, as the face grows, losing of (if the face become more gaunt), cuts and bruises, whatever, will most certainly, account for a much larger than 3 % changeover time, which % change is likely to grow bigger as time passes.

    Is anyone taking these clowns seriously ? :

    Ask yourself this : If such a scan was taken of your head two thirds of your current age ago, compared with one taken now, what’s the chance the 2 “underlying blood vessel structures” would even be remotely similar ? I’ve just looked at two such pictures of myself (let’s just assume I’m average, no worse :- ) ), and I can tell you this : NO WAY !!

    And then there’s,….. uhm…. the little question of the “special computer algorythm….. designed by WHOM, the NSA ??

    Sorry, but this “technology” is dead-born.

    Perhaps (at best) I detect an urgency world wide as “forensic science” as our justice system(often erroneously) applied it over the last century +, and of which more and more parts of are being exposed as hoax and “junk science”.

    At worse, If Seamus is correct, we have a lot to fear, because if they took a head scan of Jack 20 years ago, tomorrow they may well scan Jill and shoot her down right there in the alley.

  • J.L.

    [@Louis] Fingerprints may also work, but it’s easier modifying that than this technique. DNA is the best at identifying, but its lack of efficiency is impractical in many situations.

  • Seamus McSeamus


    Fingerprints and DNA are plenty to determine identity. but they are looking for the ability to scan you while you are walking down the street.

    “I just scanned Jimmy the Rat down by the nudie bar…scanner says he’s got two warrants on him. Send the Terminator T-800 after him.”

  • Louis

    I think this is only possible if the blood vessels and capillaries in theory will never change.

    However, in practice, if someone punched me in the face, just after such a scan, even after I’ve got my face back to normal, I’m pretty sure , arteries aside, capillaries below the skin, will have permanently removed, changed or added to.

    I just don’t see this holding up in court.

    Is fingerprinting and dna analysis therefore not sufficient anymore to determine true identity ?