Biometrics, Etc.

March 8, 2002


A roundup of new developments, alliances
by Lindsay Hitch

Biometric technologies remain the topic du jour in discussions of improving airport and airline security. One recent development: A research team at the Mayo Clinic has developed a technology to measure facial heat patterns, purportedly to detect lying.
State troopers at Boston's Logan International Airport got new toys for Christmas. The BlackBerry is a pager-sized, wireless personal digital assistant (PDA) allowing officers to send encrypted queries to state and federal criminal databases and receive quick responses. The troopers reportedly like the devices because they are able to access detailed information without disturbing dispatchers. Logan's BlackBerries are equipped with Aether Systems' PocketBlue software.
In other handheld news, Honeywell Automation & Control Solutions Service is implementing field automation technology, supplying its technicians with handheld computers to automate dispatching and recordkeeping. Honeywell is also providing its customers with online access to service information, enabling online service requests and work order, service history, and contract detail access.
Palm Beach International Airport has begun to use the ID1000 Live Scan Fingerprint System from Cross Match Technologies to meet FAA requirements for criminal history background checks of employees with access to secure areas. The system takes an inkless scan of a person's fingertips that is converted to a computerized file and forwarded to the FBI.
Wayport Inc. announces two new membership programs and pricing models for its wireless and wired high-speed Internet service. Both programs are based on annual commitments. Corporate membership is best for organizations with 50 or more users.
Viisage Technology, Inc., and Pelco have teamed up to implement facial recognition technology at Fresno Yosemite International Airport. The system combines Pelco's video surveillance equipment and Viisage's face-recognition technology and alerts public safety officers when individuals matching the appearance of known terrorists enter airport security checkpoints. The system has been in place since late October.
Concourse Communications Group announces an agreement with iPass Inc. to provide open-architecture wireless Internet access in airports where Concourse has won wireless service management contracts. The data portion of the system is a Wi-Fi compatible wireless network based on the IEEE 802.11b standard.
PerkinElmer Instruments' Detection Systems division announces a $5 million contract by Dutch Customs to supply and maintain a 2.5 MeV high-energy mobile X-ray system. Under the contract, the PerkinElmer CX-2500M system will be used at the container terminals in Rotterdam.