By Noah Shachtman
Don’t bother with the iris scanner or the fingerprinting machine. Leave the satellite-enabled locators and tell-tale scents back on the base, military manhunters. If an Air Force plan works out as planned, all you’ll need to track your prey is a single camera, snapping a few seconds of footage from far, far away.
Huntsville, Alabama’s Photon-X, Inc. recently received an Air Force contract to develop such a camera. With one snap, the company claims, its sensor can build a three-dimensional image of a person’s face: the cornerstone of a distinctive “bio-signature” that can be used to track that person anywhere. With a few frames more, the device can capture that face’s unique facial muscle motions, and turn those movements into a “behaviormetric” profile that’s even more accurate.
“The proposed work will help identify non-cooperative dismounts using remote sensors, from standoff distances that were previously impossible,” reports Toyon Research Corporation, which also got an Air Force grant for bio-signature development. “This identity information can help intelligence analysts connect specific people to events and locations, and learn about insurgent operations.”
But the combo won’t just help flesh-and-blood airmen keep tabs on their fellow humans, Photon-X adds. It “can help Humanoid Robots navigate and find objects in a cluttered room.”
And it could be used to monitor suspicious behavior practically anywhere. “A brief list of potential industries includes law enforcement, banking, private corporations, schools and universities, casinos, theme parks, retail, and hospitality.”