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Redgate Software working on code for open source fingerprint system


A team from Redgate Software will spend a week developing the code for an open source fingerprint system designed to improve the quality of living of people in the developing world.

The biometric identification system is used by SimPrints, a non profit tech firm working with the Gates Foundation and charities like Médecins Sans Frontières to design a low-cost fingerprint scanner that healthcare workers can use in developing countries to identify and view patient’s health records on a mobile device.

The low-cost fingerprint sensor could greatly benefit developing countries, where the lack of government-issued identity documents such as birth certificates or social security numbers can limit people’s access to healthcare.

The SimPrints sensor, which is compatible with the majority of the mobile devices used by health workers around the world, could potentially improve vaccination coverage, TB monitoring, and maternal healthcare.

The idea to help SimPrints — suggested to Redgate by SimPrints CTO Tristram Norman — is part of Redgate’s Down Tools Week, where software developers, testers, UX designers, and project managers devote five days to working on inspirational projects.

“Our scanner uses SourceAFIS, the best open source automatic fingerprint identification system available,” Norman said. “The codebase behind it is written in C#, but we want to rewrite it in C so that it works better with native Android which runs most of the mobile tools used by health workers around the world.”

Based on Norman’s calculations, it would take about 55 days for a single developer to complete the rewriting of the source code. However, a team of Redgate developers could potentially complete the coding task in just five days.

For the project, a dozen developers and testers will work on the system’s code for five days during the first week of November.

The team will rewrite the code and complete a version that can be used on the SimPrints Scanner for testing in the field.

Even if the Redgate team does not complete the coding work during hackweek, it will still bring SimPrints a few steps closer to providing a reliable biometric identification solution for healthcare workers to accurately identify patients in developing countries.

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