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Biometrics and smart gun technology, facial recognition, CES and fingerprint authentication trending this week


Here is a recap of the most popular biometrics industry news that appeared on BiometricUpdate.com this past week.

Smart gun technology

Earlier this week, the Obama administration announced a series of executive actions designed to reduce gun violence in the United States, which includes the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security conducting or sponsoring research into gun safety technology, such as biometrics. “If we can set it up so that you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint, why can’t we do the same for our guns?”

After three years of development, the Identilock smart gun lock by Sentinl is now available for online purchase from the company’s web site. The device uses fingerprint technology to allow only authorized users access to a gun. Sentinl created Identilock with a grant from Smart Tech Challenges Foundation Firearms Challenge, a Silicon Valley-based organization cofounded by Ron Conway, and with the backing of IncWell venture capital firm.

This week also saw the introduction of Kodiak Industries’ smart gun which also uses fingerprint technology for access control and identity verification. The company says the ‘Intelligun‘ can recognize a fingerprint and fire within a second. Kodiak Industries will start selling the Intelligun once they get enough pre-orders.


Apple recently filed a patent application that leverages fingerprint authentication for file upload and cloud storage. In the patent application, Apple details how fingerprint data may first be gathered on a primary device and uploaded to iCloud to distribute among secondary devices.

Forensic anthropologist Ann Ross and the graduate students at the North Carolina State University lab she leads have found that differences in the minute details of fingerprints could indicate the racial profile of someone who left a latent print. “What we ended up finding, which was surprising, is there were differences between (the prints of) African-Americans and European-Americans.”

In a guest post by Francis Mather, director of computer vision at Hoyos Labs, Mather discusses how preliminary results from tests on large fingerprint datasets show that its 4FingerID technology can produce high quality matches against prints acquired using flatbed fingerprint scanners and that it opens the door to portable, cost-effective matching against existing legacy databases.

Morpho (Safran) announced that its MorphoWave desktop contactless fingerprint scanner has been certified by the FBI for meeting the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Image Quality Specifications standard. The FBI certification validates that the images produced by the MorphoWave desktop are equivalent to other contact single-finger scanners and are suitable for a full range of uses.


This year’s CES show in Las Vegas saw a number of product announcements and launches that utilize biometrics including new smartphones and tablets, solutions for the automotive market, next-gen banking concepts, smart gun technology and home security. Here are some of the highlights.

Sentinl launched its Identilock smart gun, a device that uses fingerprint technology to allow only authorized users access to a gun. Lenovo VIBE K4 Note and Hisense A1 smartphones and Huawei’s Android tablet, the MediaPad M2, have integrated fingerprint technology from Precise Biometrics and Fingerprint Cards (FPC). Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint authentication system is featured in the new Letv Le Max Pro smartphone and IDEX demonstrated a full suite of fingerprint technology and held private meetings with investors, customers and industry partners.

EyeLock demonstrated a proof of concept that validates the driver and authorizes the start of a vehicle using EyeLock’s iris authentication technology. The solution can also offer individual user authentication as well as a fully customized driving experience with personalized driver settings including seat and mirror positions, radio presets, and other features.

EyeLock also demonstrated a new screen-less, self-service ATM concept developed with Diebold that uses emerging biometric technology to show what the future banking experience might look like.

And Bird Home Automation was back at CES this year with an update for its Doorbird Video Doorbell smart doorbell solution — facial recognition.

Facial recognition

The Canada Border Services Agency science and engineering directorate has been working with partners to trial facial recognition technology at various locations and under specific lighting and crowd movement conditions. The border agency plans to compare images of people arriving in the country with photographs of suspects on watchlists to keep out alleged terrorists and other criminals.

A federal judge in Illinois is allowing a lawsuit against Shutterfly Inc. to proceed despite the company’s claims that its tagging software does not break state privacy law. Shutterfly argued that the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) does not pertain to “photographs and any information gleaned from photographs” as they “cannot be biometric identifiers”. But that wasn’t enough to get the lawsuit dismissed.

Industry interviews

Closing out our trending coverage for the past week are recent interviews we conducted with HID Global and Cognitec.

BiometricUpdate.com spoke with Elke Olberg, marketing manager at Cognitec, who discussed the company’s FaceVACS technology, its new algorithms, and how the technology has helped to dispel common misconceptions about facial recognition.

BiometricUpdate.com also spoke with Janine Kennedy, segment communications manager of biometrics at HID Global, who discussed combining biometrics with PIV to improve airport security, the surge in biometrics adoption by the financial industry, and implementing a biometric identification card system for Angolan citizens.

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