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Free iris scan at bank in Turners Falls  on Saturday

TURNERS FALLS — The future is here, albeit without the long-promised personal jet packs or robotic spiders. Apparently the future — in the form of digital eye scan technology — has been in Franklin County for a few years and unfortunately, for fans of science fiction, it won’t help Big Brother or the future crime unit track your whereabouts.

A digital iris scan is, however, more reliable than fingerprints in identifying confused adults or young children who can’t identify themselves, according to Lt. Susan Corey of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

“The iris is absolutely unique even among identical twins ... and it’s fully developed at a year old and it never changes, even if they develop vision problems it never changes,” Corey said, whereas fingerprint patterns have less than half the unique characteristics and are vulnerable to scarring, callouses and the like.

Where fingerprints can help to track a person, iris recognition technology is meant more for identifying people who have been found and might not be able to identify themselves, Corey said, such as adults with Alzheimer’s or young children who have been kidnapped and brainwashed.

The event is free, no registration is required and the whole process, including eye and face photos and collection of details such as name, address, height and hair color to accompany the digital file takes about five minutes.

The scanner never touches the face and there is no flash, Corey said. The file generated goes into a nationwide network and registration, and Corey said sheriff’s offices across the country have the recognition technology to match anonymous eyes to files.

All are welcome and parents are invited to bring children as young as 5, Corey said, because younger children can be difficult to persuade to sit still and focus on the camera. Scans of children’s eyes drop out of the system once they reach 18, she said.

The event runs 10 a.m. to noon Saturday in the Greenfield Savings Bank, 282 Avenue A, Turners Falls.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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