Biometric solution makes profiling socially acceptable

Extreme Reality’s software-based 3D solution for 2D cameras moves beyond games into national security

Extreme Reality's biometric profiling system in action (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Extreme Reality's biometric profiling system in action (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Extreme Reality, an Israeli video technology firm, may have found the solution to racial or ethnic profiling in a biometric profiling system that can automatically analyze how an individual moves, based on a “skeletal map” that indicates if an individual is up to no good.

A biometric system uses quantifiable biological data to discover information about an individual. Such systems are usually part of an authentication or security system, comparing an individual’s information collected from biometric sensors to the information about them in a database. Airports around the world, including Ben-Gurion Airport, have a biometric authentication system that frequent travelers can use to speed up their check-in. Users register and record their biometric profile. When they reach a sensor station at the airport, they can pass through when the sensor determines that their biometric profile matches the one in the database, skipping the long lines at passport control.

This system works well on a voluntary basis, but, unless a government legislates that all citizens submit their biometric information (as Israel is planning to do), biometrics can’t be used to identify individuals in this way. This issue does not even consider foreigners who enter a country and whose profiles are most likely not on record.

Herzliya-based Extreme Reality has been working in the video technology market for nearly a decade, specializing in creating a 3D effect using 2D cameras. Their software-based solution uses motion analysis based on the skeletal position of an individual and creates a 3D image of them on screen, using standard two-dimensional cameras. The software is very popular in the gaming industry, where Extreme Reality partnered with Sega, the Japanese game maker. Sega and other companies use it in a variety of video games.

What works for games can work for national security. Last month, Extreme Reality revealed its security solution at the International Security Conference & Exposition 2014 in Las Vegas. The system uses pre-installed 2D cameras to analyze an individual’s motions to determine their biometric profile. The profile is the basis for a “skeletal map” of the individual that analyzes the distances between joints in the body and how those joints move in three dimensions.

Once that information is recorded, the system can monitor the individual without any prior registration. If they begin to show signs of stress that are anomalous compared to their previous behavior, such as a change in their gait, they may be flagged as an individual authorities should pay close attention to. The relationship between the skeletal profile and subsequent behavior is complex and the algorithms used are protected by several patents, but the company claims that the system is over 90% accurate. “By analyzing the body motion, we can understand if you’re doing something you’re not supposed to be doing,” Extreme Reality CEO Dor Givon said.

Biometric profiling is not the same as other kinds of profiling that security officials rely on, such as those based on race, ethnicity or national origin. Those methods offend innocent people who unfortunately fit a “suspicious” profile and mistakes are common, with falsely accused individuals suing airlines and security enforcement organizations. Extreme Reality’s biometric profiling system applies equally to everyone, the company said, adding that the system is completely colorblind and concentrates on the skeletal movements of individuals to determine who is a risk.

Extreme Reality’s is the only technology that can provide this kind of 3D biometric analysis using standard 2D cameras, Givon said. “Extreme Reality enables a future where people interact with computing devices through the motion of their body,” said Givon. “With 17 patents, this non-invasive technology extracts 3D motion from 2D cameras, and it has only recently been made available to security companies, OEMs and integrators.”

See how it works below:

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