Researchers are onto using images caught in the eye as being available to capture and transfer of the image for forensics into criminal investigation, reports the Monday edition of the South China Morning Post.
Scientists have discovered that the photographer or people standing close to the photographer can be captured and view from a person’s cornea.
Several research teams are pursuing the approach, known as corneal imaging, with a range of applications in mind. Criminal forensics and surveillance, including the potential to reconstruct the immediate environment that the subject of the photo occupies, are some examples. Others include advanced computer graphics, facial and iris identification, and robotics, researchers say.
But Dr. Rob Jenkins, with the University of York in Britain, and collaborator Christie Kerr at the University of Glasgow, have shown that useful images for identifying persons of interest in a crime do not have to be razor sharp, since there is remarkable ability at pattern recognition by humans.
It is actually easy to reconstruct faces from images taken with commercial digital cameras and enhanced with off-the-shelf image processing software.
Jenkins and Kerr did an experiment with five individuals. For the experiment, the duo used a high-end digital camera and sat each of five volunteers for a passport-photo-like shot, using studio lighting. When a volunteer was not being photographed, he or she stood close to the photographer to be included in the reflection off the subject's corneas.
Armed with the images taken from the reflections, as well as the original digital images, Jenkins then asked two groups of people to try to match the images. As a test element they included studio portraits of people not among the five photographed.
When a group not familiar with the five persons photographed was asked to view the photos the recognition of the correct identity was 71 percent. A group familiar with the five subjects had an 84 percent success rate.
Jenkins joined in the photo group and the volunteers also were asked to rate the confidence with which they could pick him out from among the group, such as in a police line-up.
Nine out of the 10 volunteers identified the blurry corneal image of Jenkins with a confidence level of nearly 80 percent.
Although the study represents an initial exploration of the potential value of extracting facial information reflected in the eyes of others, the approach's usefulness as a forensics tool is far from assured, notes Professor Lawrence Kobilinsky, who heads the department of sciences at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
It is in infantile stage of development due to the variables but camera resolution maybe the key to reaching the stage of acceptance in criminal forensic work, wrote Professor Koblinsky.