Face value

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 June, 2010, 12:00am

In Las Vegas, the television show set in the fictional Montecito Casino, card coun- ters and other scammers are routinely caught by video surveillance working in conjunction with facial-recognition software. In real life, it's much harder to collar criminals in this way because, among other things, mugs can be disguised in ways that render such technology ineffective.

Facial-recognition biometric security, how- ever, seems to be the way forward and interest in its potential is rising. Targeted at a different market - not gambling sharks, at least - is MyLookCard, recently launched in Hong Kong and touted as 'the world's first embedded infrared-based facial recognition system with facial data-on-card capability'.

With facial information stored on smart cards rather than on computers or security systems, users can control their personal data, which is encrypted for further security. Data leakage and misuse are a risk of traditional technology, according to Ian Kwan, president of PSP Security, which developed the MyLookCard System (consisting of a facial reader, a card reader and smart cards).

As a model, wearing coloured contact lenses, demonstrated at the Hong Kong Science Park recently, all users need do to, say, gain entry into a building, is hold their card (encrypted with facial data) close to the card reader, look into the facial reader (which shows roughly where your head should be positioned) and, within two seconds, be allowed in - or not - which is, apparently, a major time- saving breakthrough.

One advantage of the MyLookCard system is that fingers need not touch dirty surfaces. Kwan also points out that fingerprint security, like iris-recognition systems, are not usable by everyone.

'[People] have to really open their eyes in order to use the iris-recognition system,' says Kwan, explaining that it's not suitable for those with very small eyes or those that are 'not completely exposed due to ageing eyelids'.

Apart from its security uses, the system, which retails for about HK$20,000 (cards cost HK$15 each), can be used to record the arrival and departure times of employees.

MyLookCard (www.pspsecurity.com) is available through Star Industries (www.starind.com .hk).