SimPrints wins £250,000 from Gates Foundation to develop fingerprint scanner
The grant comes from Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Cambridge’s ARM has partially matched this grant with an additional US$150,000 in funding.
The Saving Lives at Birth challenge awards funding to the most promising technological advancements in combating maternal and neonatal mortality in the developing world.
The judges selected SimPrints biometric fingerprint scanner, which provides access to health records via fingerprint identification, resolving the ongoing issue of delivering mobile services within the healthcare sector in developing regions.
“This funding is a huge opportunity for us to attract talent and accelerate our development, so that we can build and optimise every technical aspect of this system to address global health challenges,” said co–founder and Gates Cambridge scholar, Daniel Storisteanu.
The portable fingerprint scanner and software integrates with any mobile health application to accurately identify patients and access their records, in real-time, via fingerprint identification.
The scanner prevents cases of misidentification that are caused by common community names or unknown dates-of-birth, as well as data loss or damage and the inability to access information as a result of paper-based health records.
SimPrints has partnered with the Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative and the BRAC, a Bangladesh-based NGO, in using the seed funding to optimize their fingerprint scanner and undergo a pilot study in Bangladesh.
“This is a very exciting initial investment into a promising technology that addresses a key bottleneck in global health programmes,” said Dr Alain Labrique, director of the Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative. “As we struggle to identify ways to strengthen vital registration systems that improve our ability to deliver care to every person who needs it – knowing who someone is and being able to pull up their health record is a real game changer for the footsoldiers of global health.”