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DHS S&T Calls for Submissions to Biometric Tech Rally

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) invites biometric technology developers to apply to participate in the 2021 Biometric Technology Rally. Started in 2018, the Biometric Technology Rally challenges industry to deliver fast, accurate, and easy-to-use biometric recognition capabilities to improve security and user facilitation at checkpoint processing.

Building on the high throughput of biometric technology capabilities demonstrated by industry over the last three years, the 2021 Biometric Technology Rally will focus on evaluating the ability of systems to reliably collect and/or match images of individuals, including those wearing face masks. The intent is to improve the ability to recognize people without requiring travelers to remove protective equipment, reducing risk for both the public and frontline security checkpoint personnel.

The 2021 Biometric Technology Rally will be held at the Maryland Test Facility (MdTF) in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, later this fall. Testing will be performed in controlled scenarios relevant to DHS operations. Providers of face and multi-modal biometric acquisition systems, as well as providers of biometric matching algorithms, are encouraged to participate.

“In the past year, we have seen tremendous innovation from the biometrics industry to adapt to new challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Arun Vemury, director of S&T’s Biometric and Identity Technology Center. “We observed very strong performances from technology developers; especially in their ability to recognize individuals under previously challenging situations. Now it’s time to see if further innovation and improvement can be achieved to further reduce errors and provide more consistent and equitable performance under challenging conditions.”

Technology providers will have the opportunity to participate in a Stakeholder Demonstration Day to showcase their capabilities to government and private sector stakeholders. Past events included representatives from more than 30 organizations, including DHS, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the General Services Administration, international government partners, the aviation industry, and other critical infrastructure stakeholders.

As in previous rallies, data collected during scenario testing will be used to assess the performance and robustness of matching algorithms. DHS will use the results of the 2021 Biometric Technology Rally to inform planning activities, provide feedback to industry participants to accelerate and improve product capabilities, and guide researchers to enable the development of next generation capabilities.

Applications are due no later than July 15, 2021. Please contact peoplescreening@hq.dhs.gov for more information about the upcoming events.

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