Space & Innovation

New Surveillance Tool Analyzes Terrorists by V-Sign

Researchers hope the new study in biometrics will help authorities identify terrorists in photos and video.

<p>Image via niekverlaan // Pixabay</p>

Identifying people by certain physical attributes has a long history. Fingerprints, for one example, are often used by authorities as a way to identify a specific person, based on unique physical data. This field of biometrics is evolving very quickly, going way beyond fingerprints and facial structure.

New research conducted at Mu'tah University in Jordan looked at a person's "V for Victory" hand gesture. Why this particular hand position? In recent years, it's become more of a challenge to identify extremists if they keep their heads and faces concealed in photos. This "V" sign, though, continues to pop up in photos or videos, according to the MIT Technology Review.

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Ahmad Hassanat, one of the lead researchers, hopes to develop a tool that will help identify extremists by their hand sign. In the study, Hassanat and his team examined 50 people making the "V for Victory" gesture with their right hand. Then, they took three very specific measurements of those hands and developed statistical techniques to analyze the shapes.

Altogether, they created 16 methods that could identify people in photos. They made accurate matches between 40% and 90% of the time. While the team was impressed with the results, it's a relatively small data set and has yet to address how the algorithm rules out false positives and negatives.

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