A4Vision, ID Technology Partners, Logitech, Motorola, Oracle, and Unisys Promote International Biometrics Standard for 3D Facial Recognition

New Standard set to Drive Adoption of 3D Facial Imaging in New Applications for Global Deployment

ANSI/M1 standards committee adopts 3D facial standards from A4Vision & Alliance

Mar 7, 2005 - A4Vision announced today that its proposal to amend the existing US national standard for Face Recognition Format and Data Interchange to include 3D facial image data has been supported and co-sponsored by an impressive alliance, including ID Technology Partners, Logitech, Motorola, Oracle, and Unisys Corporation. The alliance, eager to see a standard for 3D facial recognition, formed quickly to support A4Vision’s amendment, because it facilitates adoption of 3D face recognition for the broad market. The proposal was submitted to the M1 Committee on Biometrics, a technical committee of the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS). INCITS is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop US standards and represent the United States in international standardization activities in the area of information technology.

The ANSI M1 committee voted in favour of the alliance and adopted A4Vision’s proposal to amend the existing US standard and submit the proposal on behalf of the US National Body to the International Standard Organization (ISO/IEC JTC 1 /SC37/WG3) for acceptance as an amendment to the corresponding international standard. A4Vision CTO Artiom Yukhin and Identix CTO Paul Griffin were nominated as co-editors of the amendment.

Among other things, the proposed standard provides vendors with instructions for storing a high-resolution 3D facial image in a 3-5 KB record without any compression loss, at 0.1 mm precision. 3D facial imaging provides state of the art in identification methods, in that it addresses 3D imaging in the context of state of the art identification methods used in forensics and law enforcement -- anthropometry and arthroscopy. Facial Feature Point data is a component of these methods; the proposed amendment includes Facial Feature Point data, so vendors can store so-called anthropometric landmarks, or facial data points. Facial Feature Point data is currently used by forensic and law enforcement experts to find missing people in databases or compare human remains to life images of missing people.

Vendors equipped with Facial Feature Point data can use CBIR (Content Based Information Retrieval) types of applications, like extensible indexing features from Oracle® Database, for example. Filtering and fast searching of big databases, using human language queries based on the facial appearance descriptions, become possible. For example, a query of, “Show all males with long noses, closely placed eyes and oval shaped faces” will produce a list of subjects fitting the criteria. Also, Facial Feature Point data is compatible with the existing MPEG-4 standard, already widely deployed among vendors.

The proposed standard opens new fields of applications for vendors to incorporate 3D face recognition technology easily in new products and applications, such as electronic cards that might be used as e-passports (MRTD- Machine Readable Transport Documents), and any application where an accurate facial image stored in a small record is valuable or enabling. Complementing 2D imaging capabilities, 3D accommodates motion, variable light conditions, and adds depth-- another field of measurement that enhances accuracy.

The new standard wisely and uniquely builds on existing standards, so vendors can quickly respond and adopt 3D facial recognition, a key factor in the alliance’s enthusiasm. The proposed standard is designed to equip vendors with consistent and precise design information to apply 3D facial biometric imaging in their products and allow reliable data exchange with other vendors to enable interoperability. Though 3D facial biometrics offers advantages in accuracy and precision over 2D methods, only a formula reservation had been included in the existing standard. A4Vision’s amendment completes the standard’s specifications for 3D facial imaging.

"Because 3D hasn't been defined for vendor implementation, adoption of 3D facial imaging has been impeded. Though the past 12 months have seen global interest in 3D face recognition technology for security applications and in models which use 3D information with traditional 2D images or photos to achieve greater accuracy, lack of standards has delayed potential growth," said A4Vision CTO Artiom Yukhin, who developed the original proposal. "A4Vision’s submission of 3D data to amend the 2D standard recently released will drive greater and faster adoption of 3D facial imaging. We can expect to see many new vendors participating with new applications, especially for border control and immigration.”

"We endorse the addition of 3D facial data to the ANSI M1 Standard, and we look forward to future international acceptance in the International Standard Organization's SC37 standard," said Darrin Reilly, Motorola Communications and Electronics, Inc. vice president and general manager, Biometrics Business Unit.

“We anticipate that the proposed changes to the US and international facial recognition standards will bring about many needed security authentication applications. We are especially pleased that the proposed capability builds on existing standards. We look forward to working within INCITS M1 to rapidly progress 3D facial recognition technology to ANSI and international standards status” said Donald Deutsch, vice president of Standards Strategy and Architecture, Oracle.

“The performance of face recognition technology has taken giant strides since it was brought into the spotlight following the events of 9/11,” said Ed Schaffner, director of Positive Identification and Access Control programs at Unisys. “While standards have evolved for 2D face recognition and other biometrics to support interoperability, the performance of 3D technology has reached the point where it can match and will potentially exceed the performance of its 2D counterparts, yet no standard exists to exchange data between vendors. Establishing a standard will enhance development efforts across the board and result in even greater performance in the future. It will also provide the flexibility for customers to choose the solution that is the best fit for their business needs and operational environment without being locked into one product for the life of the system.”

The ISO committee for biometrics SC37 will meet in June at which time the proposed standard for 3D facial imaging will be discussed for inclusion in the international standard. For further information about the alliance or the proposed standard, interested parties may send email queries to: 3dstandards@a4vision.com

About A4Vision
A4Vision (Applications for Vision) develops and licenses advanced identification systems and tracking solutions using 3D facial imaging and recognition technology. 4Vision is headquartered in California (USA) with offices in Geneva(Switzerland) and Moscow (Russia).

Suzanne Matick
840 West California Ave
Suite 200
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
phone:  831-479-1888
fax:  408 746 3700


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