- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
New lab working on security shoe sole to ID people
Question of the Day
PITTSBURGH (AP) - High-tech security? Forget those irksome digital eye scans. Meet the biometric shoe.
A new lab is working to perfect special shoe insoles that can help monitor access to high-security areas, like nuclear power plants or special military bases.
The concept is based on research that shows each person has unique feet, and ways of walking. Sensors in the bio-soles check the pressure of feet, monitor gait, and use a microcomputer to compare the patterns to a master file for that person. If the patterns match the bio-soles go to sleep. If they don’t, a wireless alarm message can go out.
The lab, which has $1.5 million in startup funding, is a partnership with Autonomous ID, a Canadian company that is relocating to several U.S. cities. Todd Gray, the company president, said he saw the potential when his daughter was in a maternity ward decorated with representations of different baby feet all along a wall.
Autonomous ID has been working on prototypes since 2009, with the goal of making a relatively low cost ID system. Gray said they’ve already run tests on sample bio-soles, which are no thicker than a common foot pad sold in pharmacies, and achieved an accuracy rate of more than 99 percent. He said Carnegie Mellon will broaden the tests to include “a full spectrum of society: big, tall, thin, heavy, athletic, multicultural, on a diet, twins and so on.”
Gray wouldn’t speculate on what the system will cost or when it might reach the marketplace, but each worker at a site would have his or her own pair of bio-soles.
“Within the third step, it knows it’s you, and it goes back to sleep,” he said. “If I put on yours, it would know almost instantly that I’m not you.”
The idea may seem far-fetched, but scientists have known for centuries that individuals have unique ways of walking, and in recent years the U.S. Department of Defense has been funding millions of dollars of gait research, as has the Chinese government.
The Institute of Intelligent Machines is doing extensive research into gait biometrics, including reports of systems where a floor monitors footsteps without people’s knowledge.
One expert who is not connected with the CMU lab said the biometric sole seems promising.
“I must admit I find this news very exciting,” said John DiMaggio, an Oregon podiatrist who has worked with law enforcement to use foot information in forensic investigations. While it is too early to fully judge the CMU research plan, DiMaggio said using feet as a biometric identification source makes sense.
While researchers have noted that gait can vary with injuries, fatigue and other factors, Savvides said the bio-soles can detect signs of those things, too.
The bio-soles might also have medical uses. Several papers presented this month at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Vancouver suggest changes in how elderly people walk _ such as a slowing pace or variable stride _ can provide early warnings of dementia.
Gray said the technology is less invasive of privacy than eye scans and other biometrics, in part because the individual data stays inside the bio-soles.
TWT Video Picks
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- Pentagon running out of time to find mass of missing weapons in Afghanistan
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama family set to buy $4.25M desert home in California: report
- ORTEL: Note to Janet Yellen: The American bubble is popping
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq