Senior US Army officials say major advances in biometric collection and database query are now being made.William Graves, the chief engineer for Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors, told the Army News Service of the developments.Graves described the work that the researchers and engineers do in their Biometric System Integration Laboratory at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, during a media visit Feb. 22.The current biometric collection system used by Soldiers worldwide is the Biometric Automated Toolset, he explained.The system is fairly good at collecting fingerprints and iris characteristics, which are unique for every individual, but it is less adept at collecting other facial features, he noted.A newer system, known as Next Generation Biometric Collection, is currently in the acquisition cycle after having navigated a successful material development decision. Following Soldier feedback, the newer system will be smaller and more lightweight, as well as more rugged and user friendly than what exists now. It will also be more accurate in collecting facial features and should process information in a timelier manner, Graves said.The new system also takes a multimodal approach to biometric data collection, said Graves. The advantage of multimodal is that if fingerprint or voice recognition fails, an iris scan could still produce a match.