The Worldcoin Foundation has opened the source codes of the project components and the Orb sphere

The Worldcoin Foundation has opened the source codes of the project components and the Orb sphere

The Worldcoin Foundation has open-sourced the project’s components and the Orb device for identity verification. They are published on GitHub under the dual MIT/Apache 2.0 license.

The release includes all the Orb code needed to capture images and transfer them securely to the World App. The device first verifies that the World ID user is human using eye and face images. The Orb then performs the iris verification process and transmits the data to the verification service, a process that takes a few seconds.

The Worldcoin Foundation notes that Orb must meet a number of requirements: privacy (process images locally on the device), security, transparency, and verifiability.

Tools for Humanity (TFH), a contributor to the Worldcoin project, spent years building the computing environment for Orb. The design of the device is based on Nvidia Jetson, which locally processes streams from five cameras to verify World ID. In addition, the sphere is equipped with two Arm Cortex M4 microcontrollers running Zephyr RTOS. Finally, Orb has a special secure element that, like a hardware wallet, stores the private signature key.

Sphere runs several applications on Jetson using asynchronous Rust code. They perform basic functions such as processing sensor data, interacting with neural networks, and applying updates. To output the neural network data, the Nvidia TensorRT engine is used, which fully utilizes the Jetson 384-core graphics processor.

Orb OS was developed using a GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian and Ubuntu, but optimized for security. Orb OS includes full system integrity checks, a secure Linux configuration, a wireless update system, and support for reproducible builds. For mission-critical cryptographic operations (for example, authentication on the backend), the OS interacts with the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) on Jetson, as well as a dedicated security element.

Among the key components of the Orb software is the do_signup function in orb-core, which codes the high-level flow for each World ID verification. This function invokes the image capture step and the biometric processing step, and then sends the signed iris codes to the verification service. Additionally, do_signup calls upload_custody_images to securely upload user images to World App.

Autofocus has become one of the most complex parts of the image processing system. The Rust implementation includes a feedback controller that provides sharpness estimation. The output signal is transmitted from the Jetson to the microcontroller, which controls the supply of electrical current to the liquid lens of the image capture.

let offset = if self.sharpness_peak_searching {
    MAX_DF_DT * dt
} else if self.sharpness_peak - self.sharpness_last <= PEAK_TOLERANCE {
    // Just stop at the peak.
    self.pid.reset();
    0.0
} else {
    self.pid
        .advance(self.sharpness_peak, self.sharpness_last, dt)
        .clamp(-MAX_DF_DT * dt, MAX_DF_DT * dt)
};

When the sphere produces images of eyes and faces of sufficient quality, they are transferred to the biometric pipeline. In it, authentication and iris code generation are performed using Python interfaces, as well as a Gabor filter implementation.

The eye images are then transmitted to the iris recognition output system (IRIS). This modern implementation was created by TFH and subsequently open sourced to the Worldcoin Foundation. The Rust code is optimized to always keep IRIS and other large models in memory. The developers used a design inspired by the Android Zygote process, which avoids loading excessive copies of common dependencies.

Each data packet is signed with the realm’s private key, then encrypted with the user-provided public key and transmitted to the smartphone.

At Worldcoin, Worldcoin intends to focus on as open a development as possible, a more open sandbox implementation for component testing, and support for decentralized auditing.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman launched the cryptocurrency project Worldcoin in 2023. Only a real person can open a World ID account in it. To receive a World ID, he must register and undergo an iris scan during a face-to-face meeting using a Worldcoin sphere.

In March, the Spanish regulator required Tools for Humanity to stop collecting and processing certain categories of personal data. Previously, the agency received several complaints, which, among other things, refer to the collection of data without the possibility of withdrawing consent and from minors.

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