This Q&A is part of a series highlighting Florida Tech professors, their research and impact, which is rooted in the Space Coast and spanning the globe. Because it is no coincidence that brings our eminent professors to Florida Tech. It’s the passion. Whether it’s landing on Mars or restoring the health of the lagoon, curing illnesses or protecting personal information, their passions shape our community and create powerful links between academia, local industries and the world beyond. Faculty research isn’t just part of the job; that’s what they believe in â what they stand for. Exploration. Innovation. Progress. Research for the benefit of all mankind.
Forgot Username / Password?
We’ve all been there, but Dr Michael King envisions a day when today’s usernames, passwords and PINs will be obsolete, and his research brings the company even closer.
Dr King joined Florida Tech faculty in 2015 after an illustrious 14-year career in the U.S. intelligence community. Recognized as an expert in his field, Dr King has led a wide range of biometrics and identity intelligence projects. Today, it focuses on biometric identification, for everyone.
As an associate professor in the department of computer engineering and science and scientific researcher in the L3Harris Institute for assured informationDr. King takes a closer look at facial recognition technology and how it can better adapt to gender and ethnicity.
Simply put, tell us about your research.
I imagine the day when people will be able to verify their identity without using any type of ID card, username / password combination, PIN code, etc. My research focuses on understanding how to automatically detect and recognize unique characteristics related to a person’s anatomy or behaviors. . This technological field is commonly referred to as âbiometricsâ.
I have been actively engaged in research in the field of biometrics for almost 20 years now. Prior to joining Florida Tech, I spent 14 years working in the US intelligence community. The vast majority of this time has been spent developing and leading large-scale projects in biometrics and identity.
Who else is involved in the research?
I have about five students who are actively involved in research with me in my L3Harris Institute for Assured Information Identity lab.
In addition, I work in collaboration with several academic researchers from other universities including University of Notre Dame, University of Florida, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Auburn University, University of Agricultural and Technical State of North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of New Haven.
What are the applications of your research?
The field of biometrics is gaining more and more importance. We now use biometrics to do everything from logging in to our phones to boarding commercial flights. And in each of these areas, providing a high level of assurance that you are providing access to the right person is of critical importance.
One of the most difficult challenges in research is the transition from research to actual use. This is commonly referred to as the âValley of Deathâ for research projects. Ultimately, I consider a research idea successful that is carried out and used to affect a positive outcome on society as a whole.
How did you get involved in biometric research, in particular?
When I was an undergrad student one of the things I didn’t have a lot of was money. I remember the day my parents told me they didn’t have a lot of money – they had enough to take me to college, but it was up to me to find a way to to stay. Therefore, I needed to find support to pay for tuition, books, and living expenses. One day the dean suggested that I speak to my undergraduate academic advisor, who had just received a scholarship, and ask for funding. So I did it. Long story short, I started my research journey in the field of neural networks as an undergraduate student in the second semester of my freshman year. Later, once I joined the government, I was officially introduced to the technological field called biometrics, in which neural networks have fueled many of the latest advancements.
Why Florida Tech?
I did not come from the ranks of academia, but from the forefront of the conceptualization and development of technology. In addition, I started working in the intelligence community immediately after graduating from my doctorate. Although I have worked with many leading academics in my field, there was not a wealth of information available to the academic community at large to validate my accomplishments. Florida Tech respected and trusted that I had something different to contribute.
What is your ultimate goal for your research?
In recent years, questions have been raised regarding the facial recognition performance of people with darker skin. From our experiences, we were able to show that African Americans are more likely to be misidentified compared to their Caucasian counterparts. So my goal is to enable very precise and transparent authentication technology that works for everyone.