IEEE Forms Biometrics Council

The newest council is dedicated to the rapidly growing field of biometrics

8 July 2008

IEEE has its seventh and newest council, one dedicated to the rapidly growing field of biometrics.

Biometrics encompasses the characterization of human beings based on the measurement of physiological and behavioral features and traits that can be used for automated recognition. Examples include fingerprint, face, and iris recognition. It can also be used to identify people by analyzing the geometry of their palms and ears, characteristics of voice and gait (the way a person walks); or heart and brain-wave activity as a lie-detection mechanism.

A council's membership consists of representatives from sponsoring societies. The new Biometrics Council is made up of 17 IEEE societies, including the Computational Intelligence Society, Computer Society, Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Signal Processing Society, and Robotics and Automation Society.

LOTS GOING ON “Biometrics is growing very fast, so we created this council to encompass everything IEEE and researchers are doing,” says the council’s founder and interim president, Evangelia Micheli-Tzanakou, a professor of biomedical engineering and the director of Computational Intelligence Laboratories at Rutgers University. A new president will be chosen in the next few months. “Many of these societies were already doing research in biometrics, pattern recognition, sensors, systems and algorithm development, instrumentation, and circuit design, so it was logical to put together a group combining all these common interests,” Micheli-Tzanakou says.

The use of biometrics has been growing ever since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Those charged with guarding a nation’s borders and critical facilities are looking to the technology to keep the public safe. That’s why the five-month-old council has been hard at work planning several conferences and a workshop for later this year as well as preparing a Wiley-IEEE Press book on the topic, set to be published by the end of this year.

The council is also creating an online biometrics publication, and IEEE Educational Activities is developing a biometrics certification program that will teach professionals new to the technology the skills needed to work in the field. “Our goal it to make IEEE the brightest light in the world of biometrics,” Micheli-Tzanakou says.

For more information on the Biometrics Council, visit its website.

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