Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Walk 'could track down criminals', researchers claim

Multi-Biometric Tunnel
Image caption Twenty-five subjects were measured in the multi-biometric tunnel

Criminals could be tracked down by the way they walk, a study has claimed.

Tests by Southampton University found people's walking patterns - their gait - are so different they could be used to identify individuals.

Researchers used a multi-biometric tunnel with 12 synchronised cameras to capture and translate 25 subjects' gaits to build unique 3D images.

It is hoped the technique could be used for a variety of purposes, including security monitoring at airports.

'Extreme clothing changes'

Darko Matovski, who led the investigation, said: "We have shown for the first time that gait can be used as a reliable biometric trait over time."

The team believes the technique could be used in airport immigration halls where "a simple corridor with cameras" would be enough to identify large flows of people.

Mr Matovski, from the university's school of electronics and computer science, added: "A bank robber may wear a mask so you can't see his face, wear gloves so you can't get fingerprints, wear a hat so you can't get DNA evidence - but he still has to walk into the bank and you can identify him from the walk."

With almost 2,000 walking sequences recorded in a database, Mr Matovski claims a 95% success rate.

Gait can also be measured at a distance - an advantage over other forms of biometric identification.

However researchers found that "extreme changes" in clothing can affect recognition levels.

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