Researchers at the University of Southampton (UK) reported a 100% accuracy rate for verifying the identity of individuals by automatically analyzing the way they walk. IT Week (a UK information technology magazine) has some details.
Based on the IT Week article, it appeared to me that all the tests were conducted under controlled conditions. Visually-based biometric techniques generally require good lighting conditions (i.e. proper exposure of the image) and resolution. They also require that the features needed for recognition are not occluded.
Why would one need gait recognition when face recognition already exists? Some obvious advantages are that gait recognition doesn't require that the face is oriented toward the camera and the image resolution requirements are not as high. But if the conditions are controlled anyway, why can't the person be required to be close to and facing the camera?
A couple of questions that come to mind are 1) how much less the spatial resolution can be and 2) how robust it is to image compression (e.g. MPEG-4)? These could give the technique additional advantages.
One final observation I should make is that, as with all biometric techniques, being able to fuse the results of more than one technique improves the system accuracy and robustness. That alone could justify the inclusion of the technique in fielded systems.