Funded by the Department of Science and Technology, the CSIR researchers have defined the fingerprints, ears, and the iris as suitable biometrics for this application.
Over the next two years, researchers will be collecting samples from minors to establish whether it can be used to verify or determine their identities.
“Systems which are instrumental in the prevention of identity fraud do not cater for children,” said Kribashnee Dorasamy, technologist/computer engineer at the CSIR.
The identification will play a key role in assisting police and safety departments during investigations related to children in the future.
Yaseen Moolla, senior researcher and project manager, said: “Existing technology does not appeal to the changing features from when a child is born and when they are adolescents. This technology and algorithm is a better way of finding fingerprints from children. It models the growth of a child and scales the accuracy.
"The pattern or the external shape of the ear is fairly consistent as the child grows. The aim of the biometric system is to eventually have a method that can be used to recognise a child."