Japanese tech giant NEC Corporation has announced that it has developed a biometric authentication device that is capable of recognizing individuals even if their faces are partially obscured by a mask or other covering.
This development comes at a time when a growing number of people around the world have resorted to wearing face masks to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus that has spread throughout the globe over the past several months.
NEC’s solution works by scanning both the person’s face and their irises to obtain the necessary biometric information required for authentication. Because the virus can be spread through commonly touched surfaces, the need for contactless authentication solutions — like facial or iris recognition — has increased in recent months, and NEC is the latest in a growing list of tech companies that have acted quickly to develop a form of facial recognition that works even when the individual is wearing a mask.
The device, which NEC says has an error rate of less than one in 10 billion, can be installed on automated teller machines and payment systems at retail checkout counters, and is expected to be available for purchase by the beginning of the 2021 fiscal year.
Earlier this month, NEC stated its belief that the COVID-19 pandemic would change the way most companies approached a digital transformation by accelerating the transition to contactless authentication solutions. By way of example it pointed to a new curb-to-gate screening system it deployed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta that allows passengers to check in for their flight and pass through security using facial recognition with no physical contact required.
Source: The Japan Times
May 15, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis