SOUTHFIELD — Turns out the knee is nearly as unique as the fingerprint or the face.

In the latest edition of the International Journal of Biometrics, computer scientist Lior Shamir of Lawrence Technological University demonstrates that it could eventually be possible to use MRI technology to ascertain individual identity by scanning hard-to-alter body parts such as knees.

Using an image classification scheme based on an algorithm that he originally developed while working for the National Institutes of Health, Shamir achieved 93 percent accuracy in identifying 100 individuals using MRI images of their knees.

The advantage of such a system is that it is harder to mask the uniqueness of an individual’s knee than other human characteristics, according to Shamir, an assistant professor in LTU’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

“Deceptive manipulation requires an invasive and complicated medical procedure, and therefore is more resistant to spoofing compared to methods such as face, fingerprints, or iris,” Shamir pointed out.

Shamir cautions that it will be a long time before MRI imaging could become a practical tool for identifying people in public settings such as airports. Major advances in MRI technology and equipment would be required. But he believes internal body parts could be a useful area for further study in biometrics, which utilizes computer science to identify individuals by their physical characteristics or traits.

“Further studies will develop the concept of internal biometrics, and will lead to automatic identification methods that are highly resistant to spoofing,” Shamir said.

Lawrence Technological University,, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. Bloomberg Businessweek lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 20 percent of universities for return on undergraduate tuition investment, and highest in the Detroit metropolitan area.  Lawrence Tech is also listed in the top tier of Midwestern universities by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student clubs and organizations and a growing roster of NAIA varsity sports.


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