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Boffins crack ear identification

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Never mind retinal scans, finger printing or facial recognition: we'll have our ears on a national database, soon.

Boffins at the University of Leicester, working with K9 Forensic Services, have developed a computerised ear image and ear print identification system. Their technology is capable of recognising partial earprints and images

Professor Guy Rutty, head of the forensic pathology unit at the university, said the technology "may ultimately allow the development of a system similar to that of the national finger print system which is used for the identification of individuals by police forces across the world".

The human ear is a particularly difficult biometric to track, because it is flexible and deforms under pressure. Several organisations are researching the field, and in 2003 the EU launched a three-year investigation into the feasibility of using ear prints for criminal identification. ®

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