NSF grant pits biometrics vs. terrorists

The National Science Foundation has awarded an $800,000 grant to researchers developing a biometrics system to sniff out terrorists at airports and other locations.

The automated system in the works by University at Buffalo computer and behavioral scientists would track via video the faces, voices and body movements of people to come up with scores to determine the likelihood that a person could be on the verge of committing a terrorist act. One unique aspect of the system is that it would combine different biometrics techniques to form a better conclusion.

The system would also use machine learning capabilities that could benefit both quick and drawn-out interrogations, potentially providing a more efficient and effective method than random screening.

 “The goal is to identify the perpetrator in a security setting before he or she has the chance to carry out the attack,” said Venu Govindaraju,   Ph.D., professor of computer science and engineering in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Researchers acknowledge that even their system can’t top human intuition. A prototype of the system is still expected to be at least a few years away, researchers say.

More from the university. 

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