Xago claims neuromorphic biometrics deliver more secure client authentication
South African crypto-based money transfer fintech Xago has claimed a world-first in bringing neuromorphic computing to biometric verification and authentication. The firm’s app will allow users – senders and receivers – to undergo identification with a new approach to biometric facial authentication which it claims is far more secure.
Xago also claims to be the first provider able to offer on-device, real-time biometric identity verification linked to South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs database.
The approach uses neuromorphic computing. This is where computer processing is arranged to mimic as closely as possible the way the human brain is thought to make sense of the world. It is typically a hardware approach with specialized chips and sensors, but there are also neuromorphic software approaches.
The neuromorphic technology used by Xago has been developed via a collaboration with aiQ Cognitive Technologies, a group of neuromorphic research scientists formerly at the University of Johannesburg. aiQ itself is working in collaboration with India’s Chennai Institute of Technology and is assisted by Intel Labs.
aiQ pioneered research to understand the neurophysiology of human cognition and develop a deep neural net, which it has code-named Synapse, to then explore the full potential of artificial intelligence in ways that are not constricted by what the company considers the restraints of AI and machine learning of the current second generation of AI, neuromorphic being the next generation. It is now finding ways to use more humanlike cognition to solve business problems.
For facial recognition, the current (or second generation) AI approach is to use biometric algorithms to analyze the distances between facial features or the 3D topography of a face. Xago argues that this is not how the human brain does it. aiQ developed a technology, code-named aiDX, “that is able to do what only the human brain is able to do – ‘read’ a person’s unique personal identity, interpret it, process it in the same way only the human brain is able to process it and then, to express it as a numeral sequence that is unique to every person – a unique ‘Digital ID’.” The company’s definition of ‘personal identity’ is not clear.
Smartphones using aiDX via an app and the phone camera can apparently to everything that Apple’s Face ID does, but smarter, better and on any device. It also incorporates liveness detection, is “purpose engineered for African demographics and conditions” and is available via Android and iOS SDKs, with a browser version under development.
User registration takes around 45 seconds and requires a phone number, a South African ID number and the taking of a “smart selfie” which is processed to create the base identifier. Subsequent biometric authentication to use the Xago app requires another selfie, taking around three seconds, according to the firm.