Dubai International to introduce facial recognition in an aquarium

“virtual border” due by end of summer 2018 at Terminal 3

From summer 2018, passengers at Dubai International Airport will be able to view an aquarium as the airport checks their facial recognition biometrics.

Passengers will walk through a virtual aquarium tunnel where their faces will be scanned. The fish aren’t real, but the facial recognition biometric check is.

The fish are designed to distract the passenger as their facial biometrics are captured. About 80 cameras will be in the tunnel as the passengers walk through the fishy scene.

The facial recognition system will scan people’s faces as they walk to baggage reclaim through the tunnels. It checks passenger faces against their epassport,

If the fish aren’t good enough the tunnel can display other backdrops, including advertising.

At the end of the tunnel, if all is OK, passengers get a green message that says “have a nice trip.” But those who are wanted for some reason will get a red sign that will alert officials.

Dubai is installing the “virtual border” by the end of summer 2018 at Terminal 3. And by 2020 at other terminals.

The current manual checks take about five seconds for each passenger.


Passengers will have to register their details possibly at a kiosk.

Data Protection

It is not known what details passengers will have to submit on arrival and on departure, how long those details are kept and who they are shared with.


The technology is coming from London-based ObjectTech.

Dubai airport passenger numbers

About 80 million passengers a year pass through Dubai airports. More than 124 million passengers are expected to pass through all Dubai airports by 2020.

N.B. Image credit:

Internet links

Dubai International (DXB)