A Breakthrough in Biometric Matching

August 2013
Topics: Biometrics, Biosensors
MITRE is committed to advancing our sponsors' capabilities by leaps, not just incremental improvements.

For example, to reduce the operating costs and increase the processing speed of the fingerprint databases used at border crossings, we developed the Biometric Architecture Concept Evaluation, or BioACE, a working prototype funded by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM).

Our sponsors use biometrics, such as fingerprints or iris patterns, to determine the identities of foreign travelers. However, searching enormous databases currently requires proprietary systems that scale poorly to the demands of border security. Committed to discovering a better way, MITRE developed technology potentially 5 times faster and a tenth of the cost of DHS's most critical and costly fingerprint matching subsystem.

This capability, which began as a research project called the "3x2 Fingerprint Challenge," has evolved into BioACE. In 2010, Fast Company magazine recognized this MITRE work for its innovation.

Our staff created BioACE with low-cost off-the-shelf hardware using a mix of custom, open-source, and commercial software. Critical BioACE elements include coarse matching, filters, and fine matching via MITREmatcher, which scans large biometric identity databases to determine if any match the traveler's biometric signature.

We are now assessing performance and cost improvements through testing. MITRE is also patenting the technology and exploring how to transfer BioACE to government and industry.

Editor's Note: This story includes updates that reflect the 2013 creation of OBIM, which replaced the United States Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT).

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