• In 1991, while using the Eigenface technique, Turk and Pentland discovered that residual error could be used for facial detection in images, which led to the idea that real-time recognition could be possible despite the constraints of environmental influences.
  • The NSA’s Biometric Consortium was formed in 1992 in order to expand biometrics efforts in testing, standards, and interoperability. While the Consortium remains active today as a liaison between government, industry, and academics, many of the original working groups have split into or been integrated with other organizations such as INCITS, ISO, and the NSTC Subcommittee on Biometrics.
  • In 1993, the Defense Advanced Research Products Agency (DARPA) and the Department of Defense Counterdrug Technology Development Program Office sponsored FERET (Face Recognition Technology Evaluation), which ran until 1997. FERET assessed face recognition system prototypes and ushered in commercial market use.
  • In 1994, a patent for iris recognition was awarded to Dr. John Daugman. Owned by Iridian Technologies, it is the basis of most commercial iris recognition products in use today.
  • 1994 gave birth to the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) competition. Entrants were presented with three key challenges: acquisition of digital fingerprints, extraction of local ridge characteristics, and characteristic pattern matching. Lockheed Martin won the contract and was selected to build IAFIS for the FBI.
  • In 1994, the INSPASS biometric implementation system was launched. It allowed travelers to skip immigration lines at certain U.S. airports using a card that encoded with their hand geometry data. Instead of being cleared by an Immigration Inspector, they simply presented this card and had their hands scanned by a biometric reading device. This program was discontinued in 2004.
  • Also in 1994, RECOWARE Ltd., Hungarian company, created the RECOderm™ Palm System – the first automated fingerprint system that also supported palm prints.
  • In 1995, RECOWARE Ltd. Was invited to the International Association for Identification (I AI) conference in Costa Mesa, California. RECOWARE was purchased by Lockheed Martin Information Systems just two years later.
  • Also in 1995, the Iriscan prototype became commercially available as a joint project with the Defense Nuclear Agency.
  • In 1996, the Atlanta Olympic Games used a hand geometry security system for access to the Olympic Village. The system processed more than one million transactions for more than 65,000 people in just four weeks.
  • Also in 1996, for the National Institute of Standards and Technology received funding from the NSA to host annual evaluations for recognized industry speakers.
  • In 1997, the NSA sponsored the Human Authentication API (HA-API) – the first standard for commercial, generic biometric interoperability, vendor independence, and interchangeability.
  • CODIS was launched 1998, the Combined DNA Index System. This forensic database allowed the FBI to digitally store, search, and retrieve DNA markers for law enforcement. Lab sequencing could take anywhere from 40 minutes to several hours.
  • In 1999, the International Civil Aviation Organization launched a study on the compatibility of biometric technology with Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTD), and if a standard could be implemented internationally.
  • Also in 1999, the FBI’s open-set fingerprint identification system was introduced. Before this point, a fingerprint captured on one system could not be matched against one gathered via another system.