Sci-Tech

A cashless society and fingerprint payments are on the horizon

Arthur Goldstuck

The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and Nexus USA have partnered on a biometrics programme, which may one day lead to a cashless society.

A cashless society may be on the horizon in favour of finger-swiping, thanks to biometrics technology. (Gallo)

The programme makes South Dakota School of Mines & Technology the first in the world to test life as a biometrics campus using foil-proof biocryptology that goes beyond a fingerprint to read multiple layers into the skin and detect haemoglobin in the blood.

The patented technology on the back-end turns each finger scan into a series of valueless numbers that change every time the finger is introduced.

Data encryption ensures security, as the numbers can’t be reproduced in a meaningful way, not by merchants, law enforcement, hackers or even Nexus Smart Pay.

The Nexus Smart Pay pilot programme at the school of mines and technology is being tested by 50 students and four faculty members at two locations on campus.

Consumers deposit money into an account, with which they associate their biometric data. Mines students and faculty members pay for goods with a simple scan of the finger; no cash, credit, debit or ID cards or pin codes necessary.

Biocryptology, in part, reads several layers deep into the skin using radio frequency. The technology can be applied to other applications, including physical and logical access.

Super secure
It also protects against identity theft, as fewer forms of identification are needed to be carried on a person and the system operates in a highly secure, closed and uniquely encrypted environment.

“Advancing technology to transform lives is what we do at the School of Mines, and we are proud to be not only the first university but indeed the first organisation of any kind in the world to pilot this programme,” said the school's acting president Duane Hrncir.

“We are excited about being on the front-end of this technology. It’s a natural fit for us to partner with Nexus USA and Hanscan.” Nexus USA is a subsidiary of Spanish-based Hanscan Identity Management, which is owned by entrepreneur and oil tycoon Klaas Zwart, also a Formula 1 enthusiast who has built his own racing resort in Marbella, Spain.

Zwart visited South Dakota School of Mines & Technology's campus in September, spending time with the school's own Formula Hardrocker Racing SAE team.

Some of the school's students are participating in the biometric pilot programme.

“Nexus needed a place that was going to be technologically advanced enough to handle this and with a student population savvy enough.

We hope they will give us some feedback on how to make this a better product and to find a better way to help market it. This is an innovative university, and we really need to show the world,” said Al Maas, Nexus USA’s president.

“The convenience factor is huge. It’s safe, and I believe it’s going to accelerate fast. We’re in tune with the technology age. Look at how the fax went to email and then to our cellphones.

Within three years we’ve gone from making calls to taking care of everything we need in our lives,” Maas said. – Gadget.co.za

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