Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Portable new fingerprint & chemical forensic analysis tool to aid in fighting terrorism

Photo of a new fingerprint and chemical forensic analysis system
Photo Credit: ECBC, U.S. Army

Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) researchers have created a powerful new fingerprint and chemical trace analysis tool that is fully automated and portable. The system was created for the U.S. Armed Forces’ fight against terrorism, but may well end up being used for airport security and law enforcement as well.

U.S. and Coalition forces investigating a possible insurgent for suspicion of planting an IED have often lacked enough evidence to detain a suspect with a fingerprint check. The additional proof needed is the detection of micro particles of bomb-making chemical components that get embedded between the grooves of the fingerprint.

The much needed chemical analysis is now possible in the field with the new Criminal Fingerprint Imaging System. The system is the size of a small room refrigerator. Fingerprints captured are sent electronically to the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System to check for a match.

The chemical testing is down with Raman spectroscopy. A laser light is shined on the fingerprint. The laser light interacts with the molecular vibrations of the substance residue, causing the laser light to shift slightly. The slight shift reveals the molecular bonds of the particles, leading to the identification of the molecules.

A person can run the automated system with minimal training. In 30 minutes, the fingerprint check and the analysis of up 100 micro-particles is complete.

Jason Guicheteau, PH.D., the lead research chemist for the team, says the team plans to reach out to commercial vendors in 2018 to build the Generation II system. The second generation system will be smaller, have more sensitivity on a greater range of explosives and narcotics, and work on curved surfaces, such as a can or water bottle. 

ECBC’s Chemical Fingerprint Imaging System Gives Warfighters and Law Enforcement a Powerful New Detection Tool

 Nov. 27, 2017 by ECBC Public Affairs | U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Amazon Go "grab & go" cashierless store nearly ready for opening

Photo of woman walking and enjoying pastry
Photo Credit: Amazon

Testing is going well at Amazon’s experimental cashierless convenience store in Seattle, Washington. Three imaginative employees decided to test the new technology by shopping in bright yellow Pikachu costumes, grabbing sandwiches, drinks and snacks. The technology was spot-on. The employees were recognized and their purchases were charged correctly.

Amazon’s Just Walk Out shopping experience uses a mobile app and smart technology similar to what powers self-driving cars, “computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning algorithms.” Shoppes scan their Amazon Go smartphone app as they enter. Cameras and shelf sensors keep track of purchases. Purchases are charged directly to the shopper’s Amazon account.

The technology is working well with single shoppers. Fine tuning is required for close groups in motion, like a family with a child that grabs a snack to eat while shopping. When couples shop together – who is the right person to be charged? Also, protocols are being developed for in-store returns, and other customer service issues.

There is no grand opening day announced yet for the store, but Amazon believes the no lines, no checkout, grab and go concept will catch on with consumers who have consistently been showing their love of convenience and saving time. 

As Amazon has recently acquired the Whole Food Market grocery chain, analysts are speculating that a version of Amazon Go will be rolled out to Whole Food stores. Amazon currently says no. A large grocery store with thousands of products is much more complex than a small 1,800 sq. ft. convenience store, but we'll see...

Amazon’s cashierless store is almost ready for prime time

By Olivia Zaleski and Spencer Soper,  Nov.15, 2017, for Bloomberg Technolog

Amazon Go Frequently Asked Questions

Thursday, November 9, 2017

One of FBI’s own honored with 2017 Women in Biometrics Award

Kim Del Greco, 2017 Woman in Biometrics Award Winner
Photo Credit: SecureIDNews

On Wednesday, Nov. 15th, at the Security Industry Association’s “SIA Honors Night,” the 2017 Women in Biometrics Awards will be presented. One of the honorees is the FBI’s own Kimberly Del Greco, Deputy Asst. Director of the Information Services Branch in the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. 

“Law enforcement caught me at a young age. I care about keeping the country safe and contributing to that,” says Del Greco.

In 2006 Del Greco created the Biometric Center of Excellence to explore the use of new technologies from voice, iris and face biometrics to Rapid DNA (a fully automated process of developing a DNA profile from a sample). 

Her proudest accomplishment is her work on the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system. Working closely with the law enforcement community, the team delivered a new fingerprint algorithm with increased hit rate efficiency and quality.

Kimberly feels her most significant contribution was the collaboration she forged with other government agencies and the intelligence community to share biometric information, including fingerprint records. She reflects, “That was probably the most significant, getting all the agencies to coordinate, collaborate and share our biometrics together. From there we were able to upgrade our system and share more critical records.”

Kimberly will be presented with a 2017 Women in Biometrics award along with four other distinguished biometrics award honorees, selected from a pool of over one hundred nominees. Congratulations, Kimberly! 

Women in Biometrics 2017 winner: Kimberly Del Greco, FBI

By Gina Jordan, Nov. 6, 2017, for SecureIDNews

Women in Biometrics 2017 Awards

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Almost 70% of shoppers open to paying with fingerprint biometrics

Photo of girlfriends shopping and comparing purchases

According to new research by Worldpay, 63% of consumers are open to paying for purchases using biometrics. Of those open to biometric payments, fingerprints are the most accepted form of biometrics. The survey results for types of biometric payments reveal:

  • 18% would feel comfortable with voice recognition
  • 24% would be comfortable with facial recognition
  • 33% would accept iris recognition
  • 69% would be open to fingerprint recognition

The results show growing consumer confidence in the security of biometric payments, but according to James Frost, chief marketing officer of Worldpay, convenience and faster checkout are driving consumer adoption of the new technologies more than anything else.

Customers surveyed are in favor of using technology to add value to the shopping experience, such as roaming staff that can allow customers to pay with a mobile card machine or other mobile device. Almost 70% who encountered this technology in shops said it allowed them a more personalized shopping experience, but only 31% had been offered the opportunity to pay this way.

In restaurants, 65% of respondents would be in favor of paying via a robot, rather than waiting on service staff. Almost 30% had used an app to get faster service in a restaurant. Of those who tried an app, 88% found it a positive experience. 

The study reflects a retail trend to an omni-channel (integrated) shopping experience. Whether a customer shops online by desktop or smartphone, by telephone, or in a brick and mortar store they desire a seamless, high quality shopping experience.

Almost 70% of customers willing to use fingerprint biometrics to shop

Clare McDonald, Oct. 24, 2017, for

Shoppers give thumbs up to in-store biometrics

Sept. 21, 2017, Media-Centre