DARPA-funded engineers at Southern Methodist University (SMU) have been working on Panoptes for awhile, which is a gadget that uses low-resolution sensors instead of a lens to capture a high-resolution image. These were originally to be used on drones and troop helmets, but have advanced to the stage where they can soon be used to see in the dark and to scan all the eyes among a moving crowd, even if they don’t look directly at the sensors.
Smart-Iris, the name of the new Panoptes innovation, [will] eliminate problems like glare, eyelashes, dim lighting — and an unwillingness to stop and stare directly into a dedicated iris-detection camera. Instead, Panoptes devices will zero in on a face, no matter angle or movement, then narrow right into the iris. A long line of people, moving through a line, could be scanned by wall-mounted cameras and they wouldn’t even notice it was happening. [Wired]
I don’t even have any warrants out and I still crapped my pants just now. (Again? It’s going to be one of those days.) SMU researchers are also working on being able to ID people with just a partial photograph of their iris. They’d also like to see these someday used as cell phone cameras which could photograph pages of a book in great detail and detect counterfeit money by analyzing its texture. “And just think of the upskirt photographs!” gushed an SMU professor whom I just made up. Anyway, as long as this thing doesn’t try to sell me T-shirts from the Gap, I guess I can live with it.