Dubai Airport To Scan Faces With Virtual Aquarium

Eric Lieberman | Associate Editor

The Dubai International Airport of the United Arab Emirates is currently developing a security tunnel in which travelers walk through a virtual aquarium equipped with advanced cameras.

The passageway will be lined with roughly 80 recording devices, many with facial recognition technology, according to The Verge. Such technology uses the statistical analysis of genetic data like biometrics to scan and identify people’s faces.

This development is set to replace traditional security protocol like proceeding through standard lines or e-gates, reports The National, in an attempt to streamline traveling. Once a would-be passenger passes through the majority of the tunnel, they will either be greeted at the end with a green message that says “have a nice trip,” or a red sign that notifies an operations team to intervene.

“The virtual images are of very high quality and gives a simulation of a real-life aquarium,” said Major Gen. Obaid Al Hameeri, deputy director general of Dubai residency and foreign affairs, reports The National. “And throughout the tunnel, the passenger does not feel anything, they pass through normally.”

An aquarium is not the only natural setting, as deserts are reportedly an option. Advertisements can also be displayed instead.

The airport expects the first “virtual border” to be installed and ready by the end of summer 2018. Other tunnels will be set up in separate terminals up until 2020, according to The National.

The advent of facial recognition technology has led to diverse and ample application. Apple introduced the new iPhone X in September, which employs Face ID: a biometric security capability that allows users to lock and unlock their devices with their unique facial characteristics and measurements. (RELATED: iPhone X Will Be Able To Scan Our Faces, And Sen Franken Is Suspicious)

Law enforcement agencies use facial recognition technology to nab criminals, especially identity thieves. A coalition of more than 50 civil rights organizations asked the Department of Justice last year to investigate authorities’ use of the technology as an unjust and indiscriminate surveillance tactic.

Walmart plans on using it to identify shoppers that appear irritated. And one of the busiest public bathrooms in Beijing employs the automated system in order to stave off a toilet paper shortage crisis.

The Schiphol Amsterdam Airport has machines that conduct iris scans in order to ease traveling. People coming or going from different countries do not have to show their passport as long as they scan their eyes.

“The scanning device recognizes specific properties of your iris. As your iris is unique, we can recognize and identify you with 100 percent certainty,” the airport’s website reads. Another part of the eye — the retina — is also a potential source for unique security credentials.

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