I Never Forget an Ear: Airport Security to Integrate Ear Scanning Technology

Sure, fingerprints and facial recognition are all well and good, but there’s always some sort of catch. Fingerprints and faces change with age and wrinkling, but researchers believe that ears are a different story. Pretty much from birth, ear shape remains consistent and is about as unique as a fingerprint.

“There are a whole load of structures in the ear that you can use to get a set of measurements that are unique to an individual,” explains Professor Mark Nixon, who led the research team from the University of Southampton. Researchers have developed a scanning process that can identify airplane passengers strictly from their ear shape and size. The process, called image ray transform, would be both faster and more efficient than other technologies, with an estimated 99% accuracy rate through preliminary tests. A spokesman for the UK Home Office says that while they have heard of the technology “this is not an approach we are considering at the moment.”

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