IDEX Biometrics notes grant of foundational patents for on-card enrollment
08 May 2019 16:46 GMT

IDEX Biometrics, a provider of advanced fingerprint identification and authentication solutions, has been granted two comprehensive patents for unconnected on-card enrollment on biometric smart cards by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The firm said these patents have broad claims covering devices and methods to enable a user to enroll their finger with a simple unconnected device. IDEX also has patents pending for this innovation in multiple other jurisdictions.

A fundamental requirement for any biometric authentication is that the system needs one or more fingers to be enrolled so that the sensor has a template it can match against. In the world of smart phones and other powerful devices there are abundant resources like power from batteries, lots of memory and powerful processors. A smart card, on the other hand, has no onboard power and very limited memory and processing power.

The conventional method for enrolling fingerprints on a smart card has been to use enrollment stations located at bank branches or kiosks. This is expensive and inconvenient for both banks and consumers. Alternative possible solutions are to pair the card with connected devices such as a smartphone, PC, ATM or Point of Sale terminal acting as a local enroll solution, however these require the card-issuer to ensure such devices are compatible with the enrollment process.

With IDEX’s autonomous solution, the card-holder will receive a new biometric smart card and a small receptacle containing a power source in the post. The user will then insert the card into the enrollment receptacle and simply touch the fingerprint sensor area on the card several times. Throughout the enrollment process, the card is not connected to any other device or network, thus eliminating any possibility of external interference.

IDEX’s biometric sensors are compatible with both connected and unconnected methods of enrollment, however user studies have shown that card-holders and card-issuers strongly prefer the unconnected approach due to its cost-effectiveness and ease of use.

“We are extremely pleased to have been granted these broad patents in the US and we also have a number of international patents pending for global coverage. This is an important part of IDEX’s competitive strategy to provide complete end-to-end biometric solutions”, says Fred Benkley, Chief Innovation Officer of IDEX Biometrics. He continues: “There’s no need to involve any other device, no apps, no wireless pairing and no compatibility problems to worry about. Our enrollment invention not only addresses privacy concerns, it potentially aids financial inclusion by offering a cost-effective, practical solution for developing countries. We expect unconnected enrollment will champion over connected methods.”

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