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Biometric Tech Uses Sound To Distinguish Ear Cavity Shape 48

Orome1 writes: NEC is developing a new biometric personal identification technology that uses the resonation of sound determined by the shape of human ear cavities to distinguish individuals. The new technology instantaneously measures (within approximately one second) acoustic characteristics determined by the shape of the ear, which is unique for each person, using an earphone with a built-in microphone to collect earphone-generated sounds as they resonate within ear cavities.
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Biometric Tech Uses Sound To Distinguish Ear Cavity Shape

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  • With the exception of identical twins and clones, each of us has a unigue fingerprint, iris, DNA, and now, ear cavity.

    At some point it becomes necessary to ask how many ways are necessary to identify each of us.

    One last method of identification. []

    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

      With the exception of identical twins and clones, each of us has a unigue DNA.

      FTFY, since fingerprints and irises are unique even among identical twins due to variances as development occurs, and the same would hold for clones. I would imagine there are differences in the ear canals also.

      • The FBI has refused several requests to release information about fingerprints that are identical. There is no scientific proof that fingerprints can't be identical. Also, fingerprints that the FBI says are a match, aren't [].
        • by Anonymous Coward

          There's no need for fingerprints to be identical to be a match. Fingerprint matching relies on an algorithmic scoring system. If enough points of interest are the same between two fingerprints, they're a match as far as authentication and law enforcement goes. This relies on the statistical unlikeliness of any two people in the same area having the same hashed fingerprint pattern.

          It's not a certainty, and parent's linked article shows this. It shows that a fingerprint taken in Spain was matched by an innoce

          • The US fingerprint experts had a copy of the fingerprint in spain and examined it and three experts swore it was a match. Funny how spain looked it it and said no match. Fingerprint matching is subject to human error, same as dna matching.
        • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
          The FBI doesn't have identical fingerprints, what they have is the number of elements of a fingerprint used to "hash" the fingerprint results in collisions. Since identical twins don't have [] the same [] fingerprints []. That said, an "identical" fingerprint, however unlikely since the fingertip would have to be the same size and shape to begin with, is certainly within the realm of statistical possibility, the likelihood of a person having an identical set of fingerprints would be truly astronomical.
          • Nope. If you read the article, you would have known that they compared his fingerprint when he was 17 years old (not a hash value) with the fingerprint (not the hash value) on the plastic bag.

            Also, since fingerprints form in only certain ways (for example, Jesus' face or IBMs trademark or all horizontal lines will never appear by nature), the set of possible fingerprints may be high, but it is not "astronomical." Statistically, there has to be a dupe somewhere. It's the same as the odds of two people in []

            • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
              OK, I skimmed the article and the first thing I see is (emphasis mine):

              The affidavit’s lynchpin was the allegation that senior FBI fingerprint examiner Terry Green identified “in excess of 15 points of identification during his comparison” of Mayfield’s prints on file with the Army and the FBI, and a “photograph image” of a print recovered from a plastic bag

              Those 15 points were via AFIS, which is exactly a hash matching system based on measurements between inflection points, IIRC. The rest of the article largely agrees with the previous points going so far as to state AFIS made multiple matches.

              Now the interesting thing is that it asks the questions that should be asked, for proof of individuality. It's no different from current DNA analysis, which also uses a subset of markers to determi

              • You obviously didn't read the rest of the article, where three different experts compared the guys actual fingerprints (not a hash) when he was 17 to the actual fingerprint (not a hash) on the plastic bag, and all declared it a match. It wasn't, and Spain said as much. And Spain was right - they did not match.
                • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
                  I'm not sure why 3 "experts" failing as badly as they failed indicates anything other than they are incompetent at a minimum, and quite possibly points to some nefarious conspiracy at its worst. Given the current headlines I think most would need proof to convince them that incompetence was all it was. In any case, there's still 0 evidence of duplicate fingerprints, much less sets of fingerprints, which started this chain.
                  • Still can't admit that your claim that they did not check the actual fingerprints, just the "points of match", can you? You were wrong. Sucks to be wrong, but there it is. It's on you, and you should stop acting like a coward and own up to it. (yes, I'm cranky today after dealing with a bunch of haters elsewhere).
                    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

                      A) They started with AFIS - those are points of match. That purportedly

                      B) The fact that individuals stated they matched it after AFIS, sure. If it makes you happy. Note that they still used points of identification, because that's what they are trained to do, however badly apparently. Also note that Green only matched 15 points, whereas some guy faked fingerprints decades ago up to 16 points. Not sure where you'd want to go from there. They obviously don't overlay the fingerprints and match them that way.

                    • No, the three people who made the false positive did NOT use AFIS. Read the damn article and get the facts. And they did not use points of identification. The prints only matched because the cops wanted them to match, even though a casual inspection shows they don't.
                    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

                      The prints only matched because the cops wanted them to match, even though a casual inspection shows they don't.

                      And that is the real issue in the story. The next question is why.

                    • You were arguing that they only did a points match. You were wrong. The real issue here today is why you're trying to divert discussion of that after arguing about it so long when you would have known the truth if you had read the article I linked to. Is it really that hard to say "okay, I was wrong - I should have read the link"?
                    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
                      From above and the TFA:

                      senior FBI fingerprint examiner Terry Green identified “in excess of 15 points of identification during his comparison"

                      I'm not sure what else there is to say.

                    • Read the rest - the three experts called in after that did not use "points of identification" - they had the actual fingerprints to look at. You really don't want to admit you were wrong.
                    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
                      I reread it, here's the relative parts:

                      The affidavit further alleges that the fingerprint identification was verified by an FBI fingerprint supervisor, and a retired FBI fingerprint examiner with 30 years of experience on contract with the lab’s Latent Fingerprint Section.

                      FBI examiner Green then manually matched the print of the fourth AFIS match to the Madrid print as belonging to Mayfield, and then the other two examiners referred to in the affidavit verified that match

                      Now, how did he "manually matched" the print to the AFIS match? Oh yeah,

                      Terry Green identified “in excess of 15 points of identification during his comparison”

                      I'll be happy to admit I'm wrong if those quotes are incorrect or my understanding of fingerprint identification is lacking.

                    • They said they manually then matched the print, which makes it clear that they didn't use the technique to originally determine the match - in other words, points of match weren't used in the manual verification. The final match was between the suspect's actual fingerprint when they were 17 and the actual print of the plastic bag - not an AFIS "points of identification". Otherwise they would have said that the other investigators also found x number of points of identification, when they did not.

                      "The affi

                    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
                      AFIS is just an automated system. Manual fingerprinting also follows identifying features [] and matching [] them up []. So do you agree that we've ascertained that manual inspection is indeed a matching of points of identification or characteristics, as per the FBI's own fingerprint recognition document?
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      None of them are close to 100% reliable and none of them are suitable for authentication. Scanners are expensive, unhygienic if they require contact, unreliable and often easy to fool. They might have some limited role in law enforcement, although they are usually vastly overstated there too.

      Also, interesting definition of "instantaneously" to mean "under one second".

      • (From the Grammarist:)

        Nelson says: December 20, 2011 at 11:39 am I distinguish the following way:

        Instant(ly) – happens right away

        Instantaneous(ly) – starts happening right away

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Doesn't seem right... If I instantaneously write a book, I don't think many people would interpret that as I start right away on a process that will take many months or years to complete.

  • Impressive precision!

    This method may also be useful in a field such as spatial audio, where the ability to "biometrically compute" a person's head-related transfer function (HRTF) is considered to be somewhat of a holy grail.

  • Earwax! Seems like that will change the pattern.
    • I was thinking the same. Or a zit inside, which are painful enough with being denied access because of them.
  • My ear canals are cavity free!!!
  • I have hearing loss that is different in each ear. One ear suffered damage from loud rock and roll and riding on the El, while the other suffered that damage PLUS a puncture wound from a Q-Tip. My tinitis can produce 2 different tones but it's usually a high E. Now if they can use this tech for good, like fixing my hearing, I'm ll for it. But it's just another way to steal my credits from the Federation.

    • Now if they can use this tech for good, like fixing my hearing, I'm ll for it.


  • Is there any science to prove that ear canals are unique? What about irises, blood vessels in the retina, finger prints, or any of the other things that people claim are unique? How is this uniqueness established for legal purposes?

  • Great, I forget to trim my ear hair for a few days and I'm locked out of my email.
    Yay, the future...

  • There is only one safe, accurate, and practical biometric I know of- that is deep vein palm scan. That registration data cannot be readily abused. It can't be latently collected like DNA, fingerprints, and face recognition can. You have to know you are registering/enrolling when it happens. You don't leave evidence of it all over the place. When you go to use it, you know you are using it every time. And on top of all that, it is accurate, fast, reliable, unchanging, live-sensing, and cheap. If you must par

  • Dear Lord as I lay me down to sleep, save me from foul and bizarre dreams of biometric security start-ups which rally round uniquely identifiable bits of juicy mortal flesh and build beepin-boopin-boxes that infer the shape of, not actually measure private bits, then spam the world with centrally stored databases of low resolution multi-zone hash gibberish that are to be checked (but statistically partially ignored, how much is a snake oil 'trade secret') with mass produced devices that can and will be reve

A university faculty is 500 egotists with a common parking problem.