iPhone Wielding Police Officers Fighting Crime One Snap at a Time{8}

by Daniel L

Image of an iPhone 4S. Retrieved October 16, 2011, from: http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/

Mobile devices are changing the way law enforcement personnel conduct everyday operations.  Whether it is a routine traffic stop, or prisoner discharge, a police officer can now use an iPhone to snap a picture of an individual, specifically an image of the eye, and identify if he or she is a suspect.  The way it works is through a combination of both hardware and software.  A small, block shaped device that is attached to the back of an iPhone takes an image of a person’s eye, usually referred to as an iris scan, then software carefully looks at 200 distinct features and compares the scan to one that is on a central database, if a match exists, the suspect is identified.  The device itself is called MORIS, short for Mobile Offender Recognition.

B12 Technologies, the company responsible for this prototype technology, has been testing their device with the Brockton, Massachusetts, police department since last year.  Based on feedback received from police officers using the device, B12 has been adding features like camera orientation options, along with fingerprint recognition capabilities.  Together, a MORIS device and an iPhone weigh in at 12.5 ounces and are bundled together at a cost of $3,000.  B12 Technologies was originally known for their first, stationary, eye scanning product, known as IRIS, but as they continued to develop their product and mobile computing evolved into what it is today, they were able to develop MORIS, the mobile version of IRIS.

It is great to see how databases are being used in such innovative ways.  With the help of MORIS, local law enforcements can greatly benefit.  Most of all, it will help police officers identify suspects and apprehend them before they commit another unlawful act.  Although, there might be a possibility of false positives, I am sure as the algorithms that the software uses are improved upon, and imaging hardware gets better, errors will drastically decrease in the future.  With the recent release of the iPhone 4S which sports a dual core processor and an eight megapixel camera, I think that B12 Technologies will probably welcome the updated smartphone and adapt MORIS to support it along with future iOS devices.

Cox, J. (2011, July 21). Eyeball-Scanning iPhone Used by Cops to ID Suspects. Retrieved October 16, 2011, from http://www.pcworld.com/article/236268/eyeballscanning_iphone_used_by_cops_to_id_suspects.html