IDair's new fingerprint reader captures prints from 6 meters away
22 June 2012
IDair makes a machine that can photographically capture a fingerprint from as far away as six meters in enough detail to match against a database. Add facial and iris-recognition technology and you have the basis for a good biometrics system that can control access to any building or room within a building.
Traditional fingerprint scanners are notoriously fickle. A little dirt on your thumb or wet thumb, and you end up locked out. Having everyone press a finger to the reader can also transfer dirt that can reduce its accuracy. The IDair system makes all that easier with the use of high-resolution imaging.
The system takes a snapshot when triggered and uses pattern recognition to pick out the fingers. Edge detection and sharpening is used to virtually scan the fingerprint, which is then compared to the database.
Using image processing means there's no need for the subject to touch the scanner to get a reading. That eliminates problems associated with oil or dirt on the finger. The basic IDair machine now, which costs under $2,000, processes one finger's print.
Currently, IDair's customers are military. The system can be used, for example, to tell the difference between friendly locals and potential terrorists while soldiers stay safe behind blast walls.
However the future lies in commercial use. A 24-hour fitness center chain is trialing the system now as a way to prevent the same key sharing by friends or roommates, he said. Ultimately, Burcham said, the vision is that "when you walk into Target and run the items you want to buy across the checkout counter, you aren't going to have to pull out your wallet or dig out your credit card, which is easily stolen and getting easier to steal every day."
IDair is a spin-off of Advanced Optical Systems, and Burcham said two of the company's officers are investors in the new company, which has three employees and an intern today. It will grow soon, he said.