Ears are the new thumbprint.
Research seems to suggest that all investigators really need in a lineup is a closeup — of the human ear. Though ears do, in fact, keep growing our whole lives — yup, old dudes’ ears really are bigger — they don’t actually age in the traditional sense of the word, nor do they move from their perfect spots smack on the center of our noggins. So one professor Mark Nixon of the University of Southampton has used his computer science mind to develop a cutting edge technique for identification.
Those little curves and folds on your ear flap are just like precious little snowflakes, each unique and beautiful in Nixon’s eye. According to Futurity.org: “The method uses light rays to highlight circular and tubular structures, such as the curved rim at the top of the ear, known as the helix, or glasses frames. By extracting the elliptical shape of the helix, it can be used as the basis of a method for the discovery, localization, and normalization of the image for ear biometrics.”
Collectively, I have scars from no less than 16 holes punctured during my teenage years in my precious little snowflakes, but with technology that even bypasses lush heads of hair, I’m guessing Nixon’s scanners are smarter than teenage angst.
Photo courtesy of Banlon1964 via Flickr.
Caroline Walker is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. She has worked in both the entertainment and the nonprofit sector. Walker holds a BA from the University of Southern California and an MA from New York University’s Gallatin School.