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This article is part of the series Advanced Image Processing for Defense and Security Applications.

Open Access Open Badges Research Article

Unconstrained Iris Acquisition and Recognition Using COTS PTZ Camera

Shreyas Venugopalan* and Marios Savvides

Author Affiliations

Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

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EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing 2010, 2010:938737  doi:10.1155/2010/938737

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://asp.eurasipjournals.com/content/2010/1/938737

Received:2 December 2009
Revisions received:3 May 2010
Accepted:19 July 2010
Published:8 August 2010

© 2010 Shreyas Venugopalan and Marios Savvides.

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Uniqueness of iris patterns among individuals has resulted in the ubiquity of iris recognition systems in virtual and physical spaces, at high security facilities around the globe. Traditional methods of acquiring iris patterns in commercial systems scan the iris when an individual is at a predetermined location in front of the scanner. Most state-of-the-art techniques for unconstrained iris acquisition in literature use expensive custom equipment and are composed of a multicamera setup, which is bulky, expensive, and requires calibration. This paper investigates a method of unconstrained iris acquisition and recognition using a single commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera, that is compact and that reduces the cost of the final system, compared to other proposed hierarchical multicomponent systems. We employ state-of-the-art techniques for face detection and a robust eye detection scheme using active shape models for accurate landmark localization. Additionally, our system alleviates the need for any calibration stage prior to its use. We present results using a database of iris images captured using our system, while operating in an unconstrained acquisition mode at 1.5 m standoff, yielding an iris diameter in the 150–200 pixels range.

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