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Technology & Innovation

Soon Your Walk Could Help Give Away Your Identity

Researchers at Spain’s Universitat Jaume I are working on a technique that collects several different images of a person’s silhouette in motion and builds a unique “gait signature.”

What’s the Latest Development?

Ramón Mollineda and his team at Spain’s Universitat Jaume I are developing a system that uses key aspects of a person’s walk to build unique identification data. It works by collecting a series of silhouettes provided by video data and placing them on top of each other to create a summary image or “gait signature.” Together with physical appearance, the final representation can be used to help identify the individual.

What’s the Big Idea?

There are notable advantages to having a surveillance system that’s smart enough to recognize a person by their walk alone. However, Mollineda is careful to stress that many different factors can affect that walk, which is why the system his team is developing is meant to complement other, more reliable biometric techniques, such as facial recognition. “[T]he way you walk can be detected from a distance and does not require a high-resolution image…while face recognition is performed close-up and with a high-resolution image. In this way, surveys could be carried out in a wider range of conditions or, if both methods are applicable, results could be more reliable thanks to contrasting hypotheses about the identity of an individual generated by two biometric systems.”

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