Eye-Scanning Tech
There is one innovation recently that every public place should be equipped with. Initially developed for identifying terrorists, the new technology is being adapted to help find missing children.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed high-resolution cameras they hope to place at major checkpoints – like airports – to scan a person's iris from 40 feet away.

"Physical appearances can be altered, but no two irises are the same," said Marios Savvides, director of the CyLab Biometrics Center at Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering.

"This is breakthrough technology for locating missing children, especially victims of human trafficking," Savvides told FoxNews.com. "Right now law enforcement has only photos of missing children to work with, but appearance can change."

"We're giving them a biometric that really cannot be altered," he said.

According to Savvides, the new technology would require parents to have their child's iris scanned and entered into an international computer database. If the child is abducted, an iris-scanning camera at an airport or border checkpoint, for example, could quickly identify a missing person. The technology is particular useful, Savvides said, if there are attempts to smuggle a child into another country.

"A fingerprint requires you to touch something," Savvides said. "The long-range iris camera system will pan to find your face and capture the iris in about three seconds or under."

The device can also be used to nab criminals. Savvides said police officers who pull over a potentially dangerous individual can use the iris scanner to identify the person as he or she glances through a rear-view mirror – without without ever stepping from their vehicles.

Savvides' lab received a US$ 1.5 million grant from the Department of Defense in 2009 to develop the technology to instantly identify individuals from up to 40 feet away. The U.S. military uses a handheld version of the camera in places like Afghanistan and Iraq to scan a person's iris –the color portion of the eye with a distinct pattern that does not change significantly over time. The image of the iris is then enrolled in a database that enables U.S. officials to later identify terrorists or insurgents whose physical appearances may have changed.