BUFFALO, N.Y. – University at Buffalo engineers are
developing a lie detector that works by tracking eye movement.
They’re also pioneering innovative ways to secure fingerprint
Because of such groundbreaking biometrics research and other
advancements, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has made UB a
member of its Center for Identification Technology Research
(CITeR). The designation is expected to:
- Bring UB more than $1 million over five years for biometrics
- Further enhance UB’s status as a leader in the growing
field of biometrics.
- Help UB build and maintain key relationships with industry,
government and other universities doing biometrics research.
Biometrics is the science of recognizing people based on their
physiological or behavioral characteristic; this includes, but is
not limited to, examining someone’s facial features and
expressions, their voice and signature. Organizations as diverse as
the FBI and Disney World use biometric identifiers.
Officially classified as a “NSF Industry/University
Cooperative Research Center,” CITeR was established more than
10 years ago to bring together academia, industry and government to
collaborate on biometrics research. UB’s proposal to join
CITeR was supported in 2012 by the Western New York congressional
“The University at Buffalo’s designation as a Center
for Identification Technology Research is another exciting
advancement for Buffalo’s academic community,” said
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. “This designation will allow UB
to become an integral player in the field of biometrics, creating
safer borders, and offering new and exciting opportunities in
science and technology to its students.”
Joining CITeR is an example of how UB is partnering with
government, industry and institutes of higher learning to conduct
innovative research that helps solve problems outside the
university setting, said Liesl Folks, PhD, dean of UB’s
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
“UB’s engagement with the industry and government
entities participating in CITeR will offer fantastic opportunities
for faculty and graduate students to contribute to solutions to
real world biometrics problems,” she said. “Partnering
in CITeR offers a great opportunity to enhance UB’s impact in
this field of growing domestic and international
Five affiliates – the National Security Agency, the
Department of Homeland Security, Qualcomm, Raytheon BBN
Technologies and CUBRC – are partnering with UB in CITeR and
have agreed to contribute about $200,000 combined annually to
support the center. NSF, meanwhile, will provide $300,000 over five
UB’s inclusion in CITeR is based largely upon the work of
the university’s Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors
(CUBS). Created in 2003, CUBS advances the scientific underpinnings
of biometric technologies for civilian and homeland security
applications by integrating pattern recognition and machine
learning algorithms with sensor technology.
Venu Govindaraju, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Computer
Science and Engineering, is CUBS’ director. He also will
direct UB’s CITeR site.
He and other CUBS researchers will bring to CITeR expertise in
core biometric methods, such as fingerprints and face recognition;
soft biometric methods, such as gestures, age and emotion; and such
related areas as advanced computer vision, robotics, cryptography
and theoretical computer science.
Additionally, UB will broaden the focus of CITeR to include
novel biometrics-driven applications, such as the creation of
personalized “smart spaces,” said Srirangaraj Setlur,
CUBS principal research scientist. Smart spaces are ordinary
environments, like a conference room or highway, equipped with
audio and visual sensors that can perceive and react automatically
based on the identification of people in the environment.
Supplementing CITeR’s primary goal of high-quality,
industry-relevant, fundamental research, another objective is to
support education in science, technology, engineering and
mathematics, or STEM, fields.
Under the auspices of Buffalo-area Engineering Awareness for
Minorities (BEAM), UB will host events that highlight biometrics
applications to educate and attract local high school and
undergraduate students to pursue academic degrees in STEM