WSU tries for CIA contract with skeletal identification
Technology could help identify terrorists
Fingerprints and facial recognition software can be tricked, say researchers
By Christopher Magan
FAIRBORN — Wright State University Research Institute is one of a dozen groups chosen from a field of 500 applicants to submit plans to the Central Intelligence Agency for cutting-edge technology to identify potential terrorists and other suspects.
University researchers working to develop what they believe is the nation’s first bone-scanning identification system should know next year whether the CIA will opt to use their biometric identifier.
Each skeletal structure is unique and can be identified with X-rays by measuring bones, the distance between them and bone density. Existing identification systems like fingerprints and facial recognition software can be tricked, say researchers tasked with developing the new technology.
“We think this is spoof-proof,” said Julie Skipper, an associate professor and biomedical engineer, who expects a prototype to be ready by this time next year.
Skipper is working with fellow researcher Phani Kidambi to develop the idea of S. Narayanan, the dean of the engineering and computer science college, who envisions the technology being used at points of entry into the country.
The research is the latest example of a push by Wright State and other universities to solve real-world problems, said Ryan D. Fendley, director of the research institute.
“The face can be disguised or disfigured, but the skeleton is always there,” said Kidambi. “Even twins have different bone structures.”