- Wavelengths: 950–1600 nm
- Output Power: Standard-power
- Viewing Angles: Wide
Common examples of biometric technology used in daily life include smartphone sensors and electronic passport control. The complexity of these systems can range from a fingerprint sensor on your phone, to a full-blown 3D facial recognition system that uses cameras, SWIR LEDs, and sensors. SWIR illumination makes up one-half of the system in many applications, by providing an optical solution that uses LED illumination and sensors to measure reflected light. Once the subject has been scanned with SWIR light, the resulting data is fed into the other half of the system — verification software.
The benefits of SWIR LED biometric verification systems
A well-publicized benefit of biometrics is the ability to cross-reference live details with persons of interest in a database.
As humans, we all make mistakes, but SWIR biometric systems are widely-recognized for their staggering rate of success. Human error contributes to slower processing time and can also increase costs. SWIR imaging captures facial features consistently, which can often be a problem for visible imaging when analyzing faces with high melanin content.
A person can be identified in a matter of microseconds. A positive result will mean they can be admitted to the next stage of the process, such as the opening of a gate or barrier to allow them to pass through. This is of particular importance in time-sensitive industries, such as logistics and haulage.
Automatically blocks any activity can track movements and also contribute evidence in the case of an accident or theft. SWIR also contributes to peace of mind in these situations as people are inclined to feel safer in a place which they know utilizes such technologies.
In most cases, the presence of a human for the verification of each vehicle is no longer required. While you would have an initial outlay to set up your system, employee costs will be saved in the long run.
Accurate resource management
Much like a clocking-in system in the workplace, human resources and shipments can be monitored to ensure businesses run to their full potential. Further analysis can lead to the ‘ironing out’ of any kinks in the supply chain.
Through-panel SWIR Smartphone Sensors
Smartphones are the one gadget that many of us simply cannot do without. From organizing your day to catching up on the latest news, people spend a lot of time looking at their phones. These days, advances in technology allow your phone to look right back at you, in even more SWIR detail!
Smartphones are absolutely packed full of sensors, but we are particularly interested in those that use SWIR to detect proximity, gesture, and distance:
- Proximity sensors detect and measure the reflection of infrared light from an object, which can give an accurate idea of how close an object is
- Multiple gesture sensors are used to detect the movement of nearby objects, this is based on the difference between intensities detected by each sensor
- Flash LiDAR sensors use pulsed light for illumination, along with an image sensor to capture the reflected light
In previous smartphone generations, certain sensors needed to be physically placed on the exterior of the device in order to do their job. Even now, many lower-end smartphones still have a physical fingerprint scanning panel or sensors that are still visible through the glass façade. SWIR has changed all of that, and allows sensors continue their work while embedded behind the many layers of plastics and resins that our smartphones consist of.
SWIR light, at a wavelength of 1300 nm, has a significant ability to penetrate many of the resins used in mobile phone production. Types of resin that have a high SWIR transmittance at 1300 nm include: polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polypropylene (PP), and polystyrene (PS).
The SWIR transmittance of these resins allows both illumination and detection of light through a screen, while the hidden emitter and sensor can be protected inside and the device design engineers enjoy a previously unachievable degree of freedom.
SWIR Facial Recognition
At international airports, it has become normal to face a camera and passport scanner instead of a human document checker. The high-definition SWIR camera is tasked with capturing a clear image of a person’s face, regardless of skin color, while an automatic scanner verifies the image and chip data embedded within the passport itself. Rather than relying on visible light or having to adjust the light source for day or night, SWIR LEDs always provide sufficient illumination for the camera to do its job. The captured image is then analyzed by computer software tasked with creating a 3D dot map of key human features in the captured image.
The dot map is fed into the database to see if it comes up with a ‘hit’. A ‘hit’ is a match between the captured data and an existing entry in the database; generally, this would confirm that the passport holder is the person shown on the validated passport.
Possible actions triggered by a database match could include opening a gate for the traveler to exit the security area; an alert could be sent to nearby authorities if the owner of the ‘hit’ passport is a wanted international criminal; or the flight crew could be warned that they have left someone behind!
In a similar process to fingerprint and facial recognition systems, iris recognition is a technology that positively confirms identification data by pinpointing unique wrinkles in the iris of the eye. Several different wavelengths of near-infrared and SWIR light can be used to obtain imaging at different iris depths. An improvement in authentication accuracy is then attained by comparing matches at different wavelength depths of the eye. SWIR wavelengths are particularly effective for two reasons:
- SWIR light is unaffected by the melanin present in the iris.
- For the most effective results, multi-spectral iris identification images are captured using wavelengths from 950–1250 nm, in 100 nm increments; arguably, the most important wavelength is 1050 nm, where the bio-penetration depth of SWIR is at its peak.
If you would like to make an inquiry regarding Ushio’s SWIR solutions for biometric systems, contact Ushio’s regional experts via the following links:
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