According to the World Bank in 2017, over 1,1 billion people are invisible in the eyes of the world. Simprints wants to open up the world's eyes.
Because over 1.1 billion people worldwide lack formal identification, preventing access to essential services for the people who need them most, Simprints is building open source software and biometric hardware to empower mobile tools used by researchers, non-government organizations, and governments fighting poverty around the world. They are a nonprofit tech company building low-cost, rugged fingerprint scanners for frontline workers. Their technology integrates seamlessly with the mobile platforms used across healthcare, finance, education, and beyond. Simprints originates from the University of Cambridge and seeks to break the identification bottleneck. Recognizing a significant gap in current biometric technology, their team is building an affordable, secure, rugged, open-source fingerprint system that works in the world’s toughest settings. simprints.com
The Autodesk Foundation is proud to partner with Simprints. Autodesk has always been an automation company, and today more than ever that means helping people make more things, better things, with less; more and better in terms of increasing efficiency, performance, quality, and innovation; less in terms of time, resources, and negative impacts (e.g., social, environmental). The Autodesk Foundation believes that design can change the world and supports the design and creation of innovative solutions to the world's most pressing social and environmental challenges. They work with companies and nonprofits around the world with similar interests.
Biometrics (bio - life, metrics = measurement) is an automated way of recognizing people based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic. Typical security systems are based on something known (e.g., password), something possessed (e.g., key), or something about the person (e.g., fingerprint). Biometrics is the basis of the third and can not only be used for security but other uses such as identity. This is helpful for everyday activities like banking and obtaining medical services. For people in areas that lack a formal form of identification, biometrics make it possible to validate the identifies of individuals.
There are many forms of biometrics (e.g., fingerprints, retina scanning, facial recognition, voice recognition). Of all available, fingerprinting has the highest tech maturity, is highly accurate, is stable over time, is acceptable to the majority of people worldwide, and is affordable. So it's no surprise that Simprints bases their work on fingerprinting. Though fingerprints are accurate, the process is not without challenges:
Conventional fingerprint scanners were not up to these challenges, so Simprints used AutoCAD to design their own scanning hardware paired to a smartphone application:
The handheld device is easy to use in the field by laymen without formal training.
To date, Simprints is active in 9 countries, serving over 55,000 people.
In addition to providing an ID for banking, the fingerprinting technology is used to aggregate medical records:
The Autodesk Foundation makes us proud every day. The Autodesk vision is to help everyone imagine, design, and make a better world. The work being done by Simprints, supported by the Autodesk Foundation, is definitely in the better category.
Identification is alive in the lab.