OAK RIDGE, Tenn (WATE) — An Oak Ridge National Laboratory team is looking for paid volunteers to be part of a face and whole-body identification study that supports new developments in public safety missions, such as counterterrorism and border security.
Ads recruiting volunteers for September appointments are running on social media platforms with a link to a sign-up page on the BRIAR website.
BRIAR, an acronym for Biometric Recognition and Identification at Altitude and Range, is a program that began in November 2021 with the goal of “developing software algorithm-based systems capable of performing whole-body biometric identification at long range, and from elevated platforms,” while under challenging conditions, according to information on the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) website.
An example given is identifying or recognizing individuals from watch towers or unmanned aerial vehicles using information gleaned through whole-body “biometric signatures” such as a person’s manner of walking or their body shape as well as with other biometric information.
Volunteers will be paid with gift cards worth up to $150. In addition to the general public, ORNL employees are eligible to participate on their own time.
Participation requires having photographs and videos taken by several camera systems while performing common, everyday activities such as standing or walking. The images collected will be used in testing the BRIAR program.
“National security technologies must accurately and reliably operate under conditions that are extremely difficult for existing biometric technologies to succeed in,” said program manager Dr. Lars Ericson. “I am confident that our excellent team of research organizations, scientists, and engineers will push the research forward and build technologies that are significantly ahead of the current state-of-the-art.”
Testing will take up to 4 hours. Once registered, a map will be provided to an arrival point, where transportation will be provided to the testing location, according to information provided.
A video shared on YouTube by the Office of the Director of National Security demonstrates the atmospheric issues researchers are working to overcome and what they hope to accomplish with the research.
In March, an IARPA press release notes BRIAR research contracts were awarded to 7 teams at Michigan State University, The University of Houston, The University of Southern California, and others. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is one testing and evaluation partner listed for the BRIAR program.
Researchers also hope BRIAR results help to develop a better system for reidentification — known as ReID — for tracking the same person across a camera network. The use of this type of system is primarily by public safety needs, according to the video.
Research outcomes are intended to support the protection of critical infrastructure and transportation facilities, as well as military force protection.