According to Professor Mark Nixon, from the University of Southampton (UK), the features of the ear could be used as a potential biometric signature but the fact that they can be concealed by hair means further research is needed into the subject.
He says that ears have certain advantages over other biometrics as they have a stable structure preserved from birth to old age and instead of aging they just get bigger. The ear also does not suffer from changes in facial expression.
Professor Nixon and his team developed a linear transform that transforms an ear image into a surface whose special shape enabled them to extract the essential ear signature.
They applied this technique to a small database of ears and results showed promising results.
Professor Nixon comments: “This research proves that ears work as a biometric. However, there are drawbacks and one of them is that ears can be concealed by hair. We need devices that can integrate multiple biometrics. We are working on some of these at the moment and will be reporting on them soon.”
Paper on the subject.