CASIA-Iris-Africa: A Large-scale African Iris Image Database

by   Jawad Muhammad, et al.

Iris biometrics is a phenotypic biometric trait that has proven to be agnostic to human natural physiological changes. Research on iris biometrics has progressed tremendously, partly due to publicly available iris databases. Various databases have been available to researchers that address pressing iris biometric challenges such as constraint, mobile, multispectral, synthetics, long-distance, contact lenses, liveness detection, etc. However, these databases mostly contain subjects of Caucasian and Asian docents with very few Africans. Despite many investigative studies on racial bias in face biometrics, very few studies on iris biometrics have been published, mainly due to the lack of racially diverse large-scale databases containing sufficient iris samples of Africans in the public domain. Furthermore, most of these databases contain a relatively small number of subjects and labelled images. This paper proposes a large-scale African database named CASIA-Iris-Africa that can be used as a complementary database for the iris recognition community to mediate the effect of racial biases on Africans. The database contains 28,717 images of 1023 African subjects (2046 iris classes) with age, gender, and ethnicity attributes that can be useful in demographically sensitive studies of Africans. Sets of specific application protocols are incorporated with the database to ensure the database's variability and scalability. Performance results of some open-source SOTA algorithms on the database are presented, which will serve as baseline performances. The relatively poor performances of the baseline algorithms on the proposed database despite better performance on other databases prove that racial biases exist in these iris recognition algorithms. The database will be made available on our website:


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