Sandia Labs and partner to develop access control wearables with B-Secur EKG biometrics

Sandia Labs and partner to develop access control wearables with B-Secur EKG biometrics

Sandia National Laboratories has reached a cooperative research and development partnership agreement with New Mexico-based small business Aquila Inc. to develop and test a biometric wearable prototype for real-time streaming of electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) data, according to an announcement by Sandia Labs.

Sandia is a subsidiary of Honeywell, operating on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. The company will bring expertise in security systems and testing “to emulate real-world characteristics to test access-control prototypes,” Sandia engineer Steven Horowitz said in the announcement.

Aquila plans to use heartbeat electrical signal software from B-Secur in assessing different forms of wearables, such as wristbands or chest straps, as an alternative to fingerprint or iris biometrics for access control applications in situations where those modalities may be limited, such as when protective gloves or eyewear are in use.

“B-Secur’s HeartKey includes the ability to identify and authenticate an individual from their unique electrocardiogram signature,” says Aquila Executive Vice President Steve Kadner. “The objective for the new system is to meet or exceed the current fingerprint or iris readers for access control and position tracking purposes both operationally and economically.”

Initial tests will examine how wearables communicate with access control architecture, and the partnership takes a similar form to previous biometric projects involving Sandia. Sandia says it has particular expertise in physical security and access control systems for domestic and international threat-reduction initiatives.

The companies plan to build the prototype and complete its testing within a year.

B-Secur CEO Alan Foreman told Biometric Update earlier this year that heartbeat biometric technology has advanced to the point at which signals can be read on a very small chip well-suited to wearables.

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