Iris Recognition

Libor Masek


A biometric system provides automatic identification of an individual based on a unique feature or characteristic possessed by the individual. Iris recognition is regarded as the most reliable and accurate biometric identification system available. Most commercial iris recognition systems use patented algorithms developed by Daugman, and these algorithms are able to produce perfect recognition rates. However, published results have usually been produced under favourable conditions, and there have been no independent trials of the technology. 

My work has involved developing an ‘open-source’ iris recognition system in order to verify both the uniqueness of the human iris and also its performance as a biometric. For determining the recognition performance of the system two databases of digitised greyscale eye images were used. 

The iris recognition system consists of an automatic segmentation system that is based on the Hough transform, and is able to localise the circular iris and pupil region, occluding eyelids and eyelashes, and reflections. The extracted iris region was then normalised into a rectangular block with constant dimensions to account for imaging inconsistencies. Finally, the phase data from 1D Log-Gabor filters was extracted and quantised to four levels to encode the unique pattern of the iris into a bit-wise biometric template.

The Hamming distance was employed for classification of iris templates, and two templates were found to match if a test of statistical independence was failed. The system performed with perfect recognition on a set of 75 eye images; however, tests on another set of 624 images resulted in false accept and false reject rates of 0.005% and 0.238% respectively. Therefore, iris recognition is shown to be a reliable and accurate biometric technology.


Dissertation (2.17 MB)

Source Code

The MATLAB® source code for my iris recognition system is available here.


John Daugman's Home Page inventor of the most successful, and currently the only commercial iris recognition system. Contains a lot of useful and interesting information on iris recognition.

Iridian Technologies develops and sells iris recognition systems based on Daugman's implementation.

The Iris Recognition Home Page gives details of iris recognition systems developed or proposed.

Dr Peter Kovesi's Home Page my project supervisor

Updated 30 November 2003