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Uganda university students develop fingerprint ignition system for vehicles


A group of students at Makerere University’s School of Computing and Informatics Technology in Uganda have developed a new fingerprint ignition system to start a vehicle, in place of a key, according to a report by New Vision.

Upon installation of Kuwanza Gari, which is Swahili for “to start the car”, the vehicle owner must enroll his or her fingerprints, which are stored on the fingerprints module.

The module has a button that adds fingerprints and another button for erasing prints in the event that the owner decides to sell the car or wants to remove one of the authorized prints.

“If a guy breaks up with his girlfriend, he can erase her print from the system,” said Ernest Ojakol, one of the students. “The owner has to verify that he or she is adding or resetting prints, but the system can take up to five fingerprints, meaning that the owner can choose four other people who can drive the car.”

The fingerprint ignition system is also equipped with an LCD screen that allows the driver to view feedback of the options, including deleting, adding, starting the car or errors if a set of fingerprints is not found in the system.

Additionally, the system’s Global System for Mobile (GSM) module sends a message to the owner’s registered mobile phone in the event that an unauthorized user tries to start the car.

Although the fingerprint ignition system is just prototype, the students hope to eventually manufacture and sell them to car companies.

The students also have plans to introduce the added security measure of fingerprint entry system to unlock the car.

The device is currently powered by a laptop, which fails to supply sufficient power.

The team said it plans to raise $500 to make another prototype, which will enable the device to connect to the car battery.

Dr. Julianne Sansa-Otim, the acting head of the Department of Networks at the School of Computing and Informatics Technology, said the invention was part of the team’s final project of the university’s software engineering program.

The university will help the students to acquire intellectual property rights through the intellectual property unit, as well as help to recommend the students to potential investors, Dr. Sansa-Otim said.

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