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A border guard's dream

This biometric device could be coming to a customs agent near you

Globe and Mail Update

A new, home-grown integrated mobile technology from the labs of Mississauga-based Psion Teklogix is generating considerable interest among border authorities in Europe these days. Psion has partnered with biometrics developer Sagem SÚcuritÚ of France to develop MorphoCheck, a new biometric mobile identification computing solution that can be used for authenticating electronic passports, identity cards, drivers' licences and just about anything else with a chip, stripe or fingerprint attached.

"It's a very modular device that's built on a standard base unit with a keyboard and display," explains Rob Vandervecht, vice-president of marketing for Psion Teklogix. Basics aside, it's what can be added to the unit that's attracting the attention of government agencies. For example, users can add an imager module for reading 2-D codes, such as those used on a driver's licence; or a swipe function that can read optical characters on passports; or an electronic chip reader for both contact and contactless cards, as well as fingerprint recognition. Information captured by the device can also be sent over wireless to a remote central server.

Gilles de Greef, Psion Teklogix's business development manager, says the most powerful feature of MorphoCheck is its ability to read multiple types of documents. "In Europe, the level of sophistication of identification documents and identity requirements differs widely from country to country," he says. "Having a single, secure device that can
read any type of identification document from any part of the world reduces the amount of manual processing done today."

Vandervecht anticipates that with today's increased focus on national security, MorphoCheck will definitely hold strong appeal with North American agencies. Approaching that market makes perfect sense—the International Biometric Group reports that global market figures for governmental biometric applications should exceed $1.9 billion (U.S.) this year.

"Right now, it's starting out as an ideal solution for border control and other security-related government applications," says Vandervecht.
"But we can also see it being used for other identification-related functions in time, like bank verifications." —Denise Deveau

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