DARPA and Dallas’s Southern Methodist University have teamed up to build a better retinal scanner. Ideally you’d want someone standing still, looking straight forward, and scan the full eye. Now? DARPA and SMU claim they could possibly scan all the eyes in an unaware crowd.
The system is called Smart-Iris, and it builds upon years of research done at SMU originally meant to improve the cameras on stuff such as aerial drones and soldiers’ helmets. The new lens is able to combat against common retinal-scanning pitfalls such as glare and dim lighting or obstructions like eyelashes. The real kicker, though, is that the system only needs to scan a portion of the eye to get a read.
That means that even if you were on the move and not looking at the sensor, it could theoretically gather enough data as it needs within a matter of seconds. “Ideally, when you walk down a hallway, no matter where your head is looking, the device can grab your eyeball and detect what it needs to,” SMU professor Marc Christensen said.
What would the technology be used for? Well, eye scanning, of course, but it could also photograph pages on a book with exceptional clarity, or detect counterfeit cash. As for other, more Big Brother-ish applications, Professor Christensen told Wired, “You can let your imagination fly with that one.”