Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 8

What is the difference between Iris Recognition and Retinal Scanning?

Iris Recognition uses a camera which is similar to that in a home video camcorder to capture an image of the Iris. The Iris is the
colored ring around the pupil of the eye and is the only internal organ visible from outside the body. This allows for a non intrusive
method of capturing an image since we simply take a picture of the Iris from a distance of 3 to 10 inches away.

Retinal Scanning requires a very close encounter with a scanning device that sends a beam of light deep inside the eye to capture an
image of the Retina. Since the Retina is located on the back of the eye, retinal scanning was not widely accepted due to the intrusive
process required to capture an image.

Iris Recognition vs. Retina Scanning What are the


Differences?
In biometrics, iris and retinal scanning are known as ocular-based identification technologies, meaning they rely on unique
physiological characteristics of the eye to identify an individual. Even though they both share part of the eye for identification
purposes, these biometric modalities are quite different in how they work. Lets take a closer look at both and then explain the
similarities and differences in detail:

Retinal Scanning: The human retina is a thin tissue composed of neuralcells that is located in the posterior portion of the eye.
Because of the complex structure of the capillaries that supply the retina with blood, each persons retina is unique. The network
of blood vessels in the retina is so complex that even identical twins do not share a similar pattern. Although retinal patterns may be
altered in cases of diabetes, glaucoma or retinal degenerative disorders, the retina typically remains unchanged from birth until
death. (via Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retinal_scan)
The Retina

A biometric identifier known as a retinal scan is used to map the unique patterns of a persons retina. The blood vessels within
the retina absorb light more readily than the surrounding tissue and are easily identified with appropriate lighting. A retinal scan is
performed by casting an unperceived beam of low-energy infrared light into a persons eye as they look through the scanners
eyepiece. This beam of light traces a standardized path on the retina. Because retinal blood vessels are more absorbent of this light
than the rest of the eye, the amount of reflection varies during the scan. The pattern of variations is converted to computer code and
stored in a database. Retinal scanning also has medical applications. Communicable illnesses such as AIDS, syphilis, malaria, chicken
pox well as hereditary diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell anemia impact the eyes. Pregnancy also affects the eyes.
Likewise, indications of chronic health conditions such as congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis, and cholesterol issues first appear
in the eyes.

The Iris
Iris Scanning: The iris (plural: irides or irises) is a thin, circular structure in the eye, responsible for controlling the diameter and size
of the pupils and thus the amount of light reaching the retina. Eye color is the color of the iris, which can be green, blue, or brown.
In some cases it can be hazel (a combination of light brown, green and gold), grey, violet, or even pink. In response to the amount of
light entering the eye, muscles attached to the iris expand or contract the aperture at the center of the iris, known as the pupil. The
larger the pupil, the more light can enter. Iris recognition is an automated method of biometric identification that uses mathematical
pattern-recognition techniques on video images of the irides of an individuals eyes, whose complex random patterns are unique and
can be seen from some distance.

Unlike retina scanning, iris recognition uses camera technology with subtle infrared illumination to acquire images of the detail-rich,
intricate structures of the iris. Digital templates encoded from these patterns by mathematical and statistical algorithms allow
unambiguous positive identification of an individual. Databases of enrolled templates are searched by matcher engines at speeds
measured in the millions of templates per second per (single-core) CPU, and with infinitesimally small False Match rates. Hundreds of
millions of persons in countries around the world have been enrolled in iris recognition systems, for convenience purposes such as
passport-free automated border-crossings, and some national ID systems based on this technology are being deployed. A key
advantage of iris recognition, besides its speed of matching and its extreme resistance to False Matches, is the stability of the iris as an
internal, protected, yet externally visible organ of the eye.

Similarities and Differences: While both iris and retina scanning are ocular based biometric technologies, there are distinct
similarities and differences that differentiate the two modalities. Iris Recognition uses a camera, which is similar to any digital camera,
to capture an image of the Iris. The Iris is the colored ring around the pupil of the eye and is the only internal organ visible from
outside the body. This allows for a non-intrusive method of capturing an image since you can simply take a picture of the iris from a
distance of 3 to 10 inches away.

Retinal Scanning requires a very close encounter with a scanning device that sends a beam of light deep inside the eye to capture an
image of the Retina. Since the Retina is located on the back of the eye, retinal scanning was not widely accepted due to the intrusive
process required to capture an image.

Here is an overview of some similarities and differences between the two modalities:

Similarities:

Low occurrence of false positives


Extremely low (almost 0%) false negative rates
Highly reliable because no two people have the same iris or retinal pattern
Speedy results: Identity of the subject is verified very quickly
The capillaries in the iris and retina decompose too rapidly to use a amputated eye to gain access
Differences:

Retinal scan measurement accuracy can be affected by disease; iris fine texture remains remarkably stable
An iris scan is no different than taking a normal photograph of a person and can be performed at a distance; for retinal
scanning the eye must be brought very close to an eyepiece (like looking into a microscope)
Iris scanning is more widely accepted as a commercial modality than retinal scanning
Retinal scanning is considered to be invasive, iris is not

Iris vs. Retina


I have already introduced you to retinal scanning in my previous post The King of Biometrics. However retinal scanning has a
younger more lighthearted brother: the iris scan.

To most people scanning of the eye is all the same and people constantly mix up the terms iris and retina scans (even the U.S. Army
did it see Biometric Army), my hope is that after reading this post you will never make the same mistake.

So lets start by defining what an iris is as compared to the retina. I found a picture that is a good representation of this. If you look at
someones eye, the colored section you see is the iris. That is what is scanned using an iris scanner. Behind someones eye is the
retina, and this cannot be seen with the naked eye. That is why retinal scanners use IR rays in order to generate an image of the retina.
Now you know the major difference between the two technologies. However I am not going to stop there. I will tell you how you can
easily distinguish between the two technologies if you saw someone using them.
A retinal scanner is considered more intrusive and is also slower. For a retinal scan the subjects eye generally has to be within 3
inches of the scanner and the subject has to focus on a point of green light that he/she would see in the scanner. The retinal scanner
scans about 400 reference points that it uses for identification processes and it takes about twenty seconds.

As compared to the retinal scanner an iris scanner is a lot faster taking only about two seconds. The iris scanner can be used from a
much farther distance of up to two feet and uses about 240 reference point.

So basically if the scan is taken at a very short distance and if the scan takes a little while then it is a retinal scan, and if it is done at a
longer distance and is instantaneous then it is an iris scan. Now hopefully you will never make the mistake of misidentifying the two
technologies.

Iris scan sounds better doesnt it? It is faster and cheaper but also less accurate. As I described in King of Biometrics retinal scanners
are basically foolproof, which leads to an interesting post that is coming up (stay tuned).
Image Captured

The iris image is captured using a


camera similar to that in a home video
camcorder. The iris is illuminated with
infra-red lights similar to that used in a
wireless television remote control. The
iris image captured by the LG
IrisAccess 3000 is black and white
and at VGA resolution.
Human Eye Anatomy

Protected behind the cornea and in front of the lens, the Iris is
the colored ring around the pupil of the eye. The Iris is the only
internal organ visible from outside the body.