Biometric Concepts Become Reality
In order to test and develop cutting-edge biometric technologies, the Biometrics Task Force is in its second year of coordinating Department of Defense funding and development of biometric project proposals. While the scope of last year’s solicitation was very broad, this year the BTF’s Concepts & Technologies Branch used a more focused approach. Pouring over many worthy proposals, this year’s awards go to three specific current applications and six conceptual projects.
The projects fall into two developmental vehicles: Biometric Technology Demonstrations (BTD), targeted at DoD sponsors, and the Biometrics Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), intended for academia, industry, and government (i.e., non-DoD) labs.
BTDs, which are funded by the BTF, are a way for organizations within DoD to sponsor the development of a concept or process that can be enhanced with biometric technology. The intent is for the sponsor to be able to address an identified gap by demonstrating a biometric capability in an operational environment, which will then be transitioned to a DoD program manager (PM) or user. With Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) between 5 and 7, these projects will be ready for transition upon completion.
Of 19 BTD project proposals submitted, the following three were selected for FY09 funding:
- The Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) will prototype and test its “Multi-Modal Biometric Recognition as a Physical Access Control Mechanism” to complement the planned Common Access Card-based authentication mechanisms at the Pentagon with a secure, high throughput, multimodal biometric system;
- The Air Force Security Forces Center (AFSFC) will implement its “IrisGate” system to employ in-vehicle iris recognition as a means of identification for enrolled drivers and occupants at access control points;
- The Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) will add fingerprint recognition to its “Personnel Accountability System for the Common Access Card (PAS/CAC)” system to increase usability while improving the transportability of the PAS/CAC system on board ships and ashore.
A solicitation for the FY10 BTDs is expected to take place from mid-July to mid-August 2009. Participants must have a DoD sponsor, who will be responsible for program managing and executing the BTD. A transition sponsor, who will take receipt of the finished biometric product or capability and implement and/or maintain it must also be identified.
This year’s solicitation for BAA proposals focused on multimodal, single-sensor devices and multimodal fusion. These more conceptual projects are funded by the Director, Defense Biometrics (DDB) and ideally prove a technology’s feasibility with potential for transition. These projects must meet specific, articulated needs and fall between
TRLs 4 and 6.
Of the 62 proposals, the following six were selected for funding. As seen by the nature of these proposals, biometric research continues to explore new technologies:
- Carnegie Mellon University, in conjunction with the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Mauna Kea Infrared, LLC, will develop a “Robust Multimodal Face, Iris & Ear Acquisition” prototype that aims to be an affordable, single-sensor device designed to simultaneously capture face, iris (and possibly ear, known to be a highly unique biometric identifier) biometric data at stand-off distances between 8 and 15 meters;
- West Virginia University will develop an “Evolutionary Approach to Adaptive Fusion” model designed to dynamically update biometric systems to account for temporal variations in templates and data distribution as enrollments increase;
- Carnegie Mellon University, in conjunction with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Securics, Inc., will develop an “Intelligent Multimodal Fusion” system that incorporates quality measures to increase accuracy, such as those from soft biometrics (gender, facial hair, etc.), automatic robust image sanity checks, and age estimation prior to fusion;
- Sarnoff Corporation will develop a “Joint Iris/Face Identification Camera” to collect and process multimodal biometric data;
- Cogent Systems, in conjunction with Michigan State University and the University of Southern California, will develop a “Multimodal Biometric Handheld Fusion Device” that will collect and fuse face, iris, voice, and fingerprint templates; and
- Gannon Technologies Group will develop a “Grapheme-based Universal Biometric Fusion Engine” that will assign grapheme-based data structures to fingerprints, face, and voice captures for template creation and matching, employing a completely new approach to template creation using graph-based recognition.
The BAA is intended to remain open for two years to allow for additional efforts as funding permits. Solicitations for the FY10 Biometrics BAA are scheduled to begin in October 2009. For more information about these projects, contact Mr. John Grilli, BTF Concepts & Technologies Branch Chief, at (304) 326-3056.