Nose scanning - the newest way to blow security hooter

London, Mar 2: With iris and fingerprint scanning already in existence, now the nose is being taken into consideration as a method of identification.

The study from the University of Bath, UK, finds that noses could be an even better method, as researchers scanned noses in 3D and characterised them by tip, ridge profile and the nasion, or area between the eyes.

The researchers found 6 main nose types: Roman, Greek, Nubian, hawk, snub and turn-up.

And since they are hard to conceal, the study says, noses would work well for identification in covert surveillance.

The researchers say noses have been overlooked in the growing field of biometrics, studies into ways of identifying distinguishing traits in people.

"Noses are prominent facial features and yet their use as a biometric has been largely unexplored," the BBC quoted Dr Adrian Evans, from the University of Bath, as saying.

"Ears have been looked at in detail, eyes have been looked at in terms of iris recognition but the nose has been neglected," he said.

The researchers used a system called PhotoFace, developed by researchers at the University of the West of England in Bristol, for the 3D scans.

The computer models the face so the nose can be analysed in detail, and several measurements by which noses can be recognised were identified and the team developed recognition software based on these parameters.

"This initial work is nowhere as good as iris identification but the nose has pros and cons," Dr Evans said.

"There's no magic biometric that solves all your problems. Irises are a powerful biometric but can be difficult to capture accurately and can be easily obscured by eyelids or glasses.

"People can easily cover up their ears, with their hair for example.

"Of course you can have a broken nose or wear a false nose or have plastic surgery but to have nose surgery to change your identity is fairly drastic.

"Irises are very good for recognition but you can put in dilation drops which change the iris completely. No technique is infallible," he explained.

The research is based on a study of 40 noses, and the database has now been expanded to 160 for further tests to see if the software can pick out people from a larger group and distinguish between relatives.

Dr Evans hopes the method can be proven to be effective on this larger sample.

"The technique certainly shows potential, perhaps to be used in combination with other identification methods," he added.

Copyright Asian News International/