Face verification for authentication is gradually coming out of our smartphones and moving into real-life scenarios. Recently, the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced the Digi Yatra initiative where it will allow passengers into airports based on facial recognition.
London-based iProov is one company that is already working in this space, having got clearance for a pilot project from the US Department of Homeland Security. Given that its technology does not need a high-end camera or other equipment to authenticate a user, iProov is likely to find major acceptance in India, across sectors and industries.
Aarti Samani, who drives product innovation for iProov, told indianexpress.com that their solution is different because it not only matches a recognisable face, but also checks if it is a genuine presence. She says that traditional face verification has had issues with recognising if it was indeed a real person and their solution specialises in ensuring the face on the other end was genuine.
“So when you are doing a digital transaction, what is the one thing that everyone has? Either a phone or a laptop, right? Then what does every device have? A screen, a camera, and a network. To know the user is actually real, there is skin on the face,” Samani says, explaining how their technology uses these three elements to solve the problem. “What we do is use the screen to project light on the face. The light interacts with the face tells us where space is, firstly, is this three dimensional and secondly, is it covered with skin,” she says, adding that all the user has to do is hold the phone in a natural position.
iProov uses a combination of RGB to illuminate the face in a cryptographic sequence which remains unique for a person in his entire lifetime. Samani says this ends up as a 2.5-second video that is uploaded to a server where it I analyses for being real and also matched with a photo in the database. iProov’s technology is device agnostic as long as it has a camera and Internet connection, thus making it ideal for a country like India. The company has 11 patents protecting its technology which they have built from scratch.
In contrast, Apples’s FaceID first confirms “attention and intent” by checking if the eyes are open and directed at the device, then the TrueDepth camera projects and reads over 30,000 infrared dots to form a depth map of the face along with a 2D infrared image which is then transformed into a mathematical representation to be compared with the enrolled facial data.
The uses are innumerable, ranging from banking to HR and even security in places like airports and government offices. Samani says the Department of Homeland Security, which is now testing iProov’s solution at land crossings, created 668 different types of spoofing attacks to test this solution and all of them failed.
iProov, which is working on many products at the moment, has also perfected its technology to work well in case a subject has aged, or added new facial features like a mustache and if there are issues with the photograph as is common in case of passports and other such documents.