Global Good Fund, Element to develop biometric ID tool for infants and children

November 1, 2017 - 

Biometric software developer Element Inc. has partnered with the Global Good Fund to develop a smartphone-based, non-touch biometric platform capable of using unique biological identifiers of infants and children to verify their identity.

On a global level, nearly one in four children under the age of five are not registered at birth and lack formal identification.

The partnership will extend Element’s existing adult identity platform to this age group, enabling health systems to recognize and track health information of patients from birth through adulthood.

“Expanding Element’s cutting-edge biometric methods to infants and children could transform the way clinicians and their patients manage health delivery records,” said Maurizio Vecchione, executive vice president of Global Good & Research. “Not only would it improve the level of care we provide to the world’s most vulnerable patients, it could also lay a basis for the promised digital revolution in clinical management.”

“Accurately identifying patients, and linking them to their electronic medical records — which store past medical conditions, drug allergy information, medications and vaccination history — is critical to health care,” explained Dr. David Bell, director of the global health technologies supporting Global Good. “While adult biometrics are widely used in financial services, these have not been translated to the health sector where the need to identify a person from birth to old age presents additional challenges; namely, that infants have delicate, rapidly changing features that are difficult to capture.”

As one of the first mobile deep learning-focused software firms, Element’s biometric identification platform is powered by the advances in deep learning algorithm development.

Element’s adult solutions for palm and face recognition are capable of biometric recognition of large user bases local to a device, without wireless connectivity, which is a key capability for some of the world’s largest populations.

“At Element, we aim to deliver identity to the billions who need it. The opportunity to meet people where they are, across the nearly three billion smartphones in the world today, is particularly profound, and can change models of service delivery,” said Adam Perold, co- founder and CEO of Element. “In the dozens of countries our partners operate in, mobile software-based digital identity has the power to be transformative, providing greater access to key health and financial resources. With Global Good, we’re excited to apply this commercial solution to people at the earliest stages of life, addressing an unsolved identity problem with broad implications for healthcare delivery.”

Through the Matlab Health Research Centre of the icddr,b in Bangladesh and the Angkor Hospital for Children in Cambodia, the partnership will assess a range of biometric modalities including fingerprints, irises, palmprints, ears and feet, to ultimately determine which is most suitable for infants and young children.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.