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Iris Scanning

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Safety has become an imminent issue in the United States and other parts of the world. From September 11, 2001 and the war in Iraq to the smaller, yet deadly Columbine shootings, more and more people are worrying about the safety of our families. As we move further down the information highway, the world calls for technology to play a role in advancing safety measures. The days when the police could protect our towns from everything is over, we must rely on computers to create added security. When one thinks of security a few words come to mind, one of which is identification. Identification is used in our every day lives in areas which require an ID to acquire access, such as work and school, to having one's driver's license with them in order to prove identification in cases which may require one to present it; such as when one gets pulled over, or when paying by credit card to ensure safety and authenticity.


ID cards were one of the first security measures implemented into society. First there was the normal ID card that requires a figure of authority to stare at the card to ensure validity by means of photo and personal information. Those ID cards were followed by cards which are scanned or swiped which are still common today. This form of IDs led to much fraud due to stolen or copied cards. Thereafter, the cards would be swiped into a machine and an image of the person would appear on the computer while someone by the computer confirms the authenticity of the cardholder. Although, ID cards are a great idea they do not provide all the security that is needed in this technologically advanced world.

Other forms of biometrics, or the study of unique characteristics to distinguish a person from others, have also been adopted throughout several

years. Methods such as voice recognition, which has a misidentification rate of one out of every thirty, and face recognition, with a slight lower rate of one out of one hundred, are not very reliable (Hoffman, Howerton, and Wanke, n.d.). More advanced identification methods, such as handprints, are much more dependable than face recognition which only identifies 80 characteristics (Kennedy, 2002). For example, "when the hand geometry is programmed into the computer it reads over 90 different measurement[s] like length, thickness, width, and the different areas on the hand and fingers" (Hoffman, Howerton, and Wanke, n.d.). The hand shape and fingerprinting method have a misidentification rate of one in every seven hundred and one in every one thousand respectively. Yet, those numbers still do not accommodate the safety needed in this country. However, Iris recognition is finally available; it is the newest technology and most accurate technology in identification.


Iris scanning is a process that uses different characteristics of the eye which includes "over 260 rings, furrows, freckles, and other marks that can be used for identification" (Kennedy, 2002). It is a short process; it only takes a couple seconds to read the iris and a few minutes to search its database. For example, Britain's Nation Physical Laboratory tested the "iris recognition technology [and it] registered a false match rate of zero in 2,735,529 comparisons and a 0.0 percent failure-to-acquire rate" (Hudspeth & Spinks, 2001). Iris recognition is the new drive behind biometrics due to the large accuracy jump between previous machinery and now. The system is simple; it works by scanning the unique patterns of the iris. Segments of the eyes are then examined according to the intensity of the areas. The next step depends on whether or not one is a first time user; the computer will generate a code for the first time user, while; for an existing user the system will check its database to ensure authenticity of the person. It's a simple process which requires the complexity of the iris in order to provide the best security in identification. This new technology is so secure it is already being applied into airports across the country; this new technology is the wave of the future for the world and more specifically our schools.


The advanced iris scan technology would save a lot of money and add security to our school. Currently, kids across the country get to school; typically they will swipe a card and go to their first class or homeroom. The identification card is required to get into the school or else the student is warned, or required to purchase a new one, if lost. The card is used as a form of attendance and security to make sure each and every child who is supposed to be in school is in school. Instead of continually wasting money on making cards, taking pictures, processing the picture, replacing lost cards, getting computers to process the card, and doing the process every year to keep the system up to date the district would be better off if they implemented iris scan technology. Since the identification card process would be cut out of the budget and an advanced economical iris recognition system would be applied the school district will achieve a solution on both fronts, security and money saving. Once the entire district is initially scanned, students may use the same "identification card" or their eyes, in each and every grade and school building they walk into for attendance, records, and several other things.

Therefore, with the iris recognition technology, each student is accounted for making it impossible for a student to swipe another for attendance or use his or her card for a meal plan in the cafeteria. Also, it will eliminate criticism because kids with free lunch would no longer be distinguishable from kids who pay. In addition to that, books that are given out in the beginning of the year or semester must be returned at the end according to the serial number on each book and whom it has been assigned to. The technology would aid in the entire book loaning process, allowing the validity of the books owner and ensuring each student returns his book or pays the cost of it. Whereas, the old process of writing all the book information along with the number, the student's name and a signature on a index card does not always work due to lost index cards or the forging of numbers which allow a student to return someone else's book. All of this leads to many problems in today's public schools which would be resolved by iris scan technology. However, the biggest concern in the schools today, especially, during grade school, is the safety of the children.

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