RAPID CITY, SD -- A sampling of students and faculty members at South Dakota's School of Mines and Technology are testing a biometric payment system that uses the index finger as identification. The pilot program uses "biocryptology" technology that allows users to scan their index fingers into a reader for campus applications that usually require card swipes. The system, called Nexus Smart Pay, was developed by Nexus USA, a subsidiary of Spanish-based Hanscan Identity Management.
Developers point out that Nexus Smart Pay is more than a fingerprint reader. The scanner actually reads multiple layers of skin to detect hemoglobin in the blood, which is then turned into "valueless" numbers matched to a preregistered sample. To buy any item at one of the four participating campus locations, members of the test team enter their birthdate and then put their index finger into the scanner. The scan is then encrypted and sent by intranet to a secure system that checks it against records.
The system is part of the biometrics technology category, which employs a person's physical features as identification. Fans of science fiction and espionage movies may recognize the technology employed in everything from fingerprint scans and voice recognition to iris and facial recognition. Biocryptology combines fingerprint and hemoglobin readings, and Nexus USA believes this technology is practical for cashless payment systems.
Nexus Smart Pay also includes multiple consumer-targeted features like emailing receipts of each purchase to the user and onsite warning of insufficient funds in an account. It also offers the option of an "emergency finger" that patrons can scan to indicate something is amiss with the transaction.
About 50 students and four faculty members are participating in the pilot program at the School of Mines and Technology. | SEE VIDEO
Hanscan Identity Management is owned by Dutch entrepreneur and Formula 1 racing enthusiast Klaas Zwart, famous for his British-built Ascari luxury cars.