22 Feb 2023
Jena firm receives support via European Innovation Council Accelerator funding scheme.
IDloop, a startup firm developing a system capable of capturing high-resolution images of fingerprints without the need to touch a scanner, has raised €10 million via a European Union investment scheme.
Headquartered in the optics heartland of Jena, Germany, the company has received the backing from the European Investment Council (EIC) Accelerator, part of the wider Horizon Europe funding program.
IDloop says that the money will be used to further refine the imaging system for market readiness. The company is the third photonics firm to benefit from EIC support in recent months, following similar deals for Cailabs and iThera Medical, who both gained funding in December.
Faster and more hygienic
IDloop claims that its technology represents the world's first contactless 3D scanner capable of capturing fingerprints with microscopic resolution. “It drastically speeds up matching with existing databases and is secure and hygienic,” says the firm.
While more than three billion people are currently registered in government fingerprint databases, all that data has been captured by direct contact - touching scanner surfaces - and IDloop says that this is currently the only way that the prints can be matched for application in border control and other biometric identification settings.
“Contact-based fingerprint capture and verification is time-consuming, inconvenient, and unhygienic,” adds the company, also pointing out that many contactless alternatives are insufficiently secure and use data formats that are incompatible with existing databases.
In contrast, IDloop's optical 3D imaging technology captures each person’s fingerprint characteristics contactlessly, with microscopic resolution and in only a fraction of a second.
“The users hold one hand over the optics for a short time, while the scanner captures the 3D image,” it explains. “The image acquisition of both hands, including post-processing, takes less than ten seconds. This significantly speeds up handling, for example in international travel.”
10 micron resolution
The patent-pending scanner currently operates with a resolution of ten micrometers, enabling instantaneous calculation of two-dimensional grayscale images that are similar to classical fingerprint images - and compatible with existing fingerprint databases.
IDloop also claims that the “unrivaled” level of detail captured promises to improve the accuracy of database matching and counterfeit detection.
Company CEO Jörg Reinhold, who co-founded the company in 2021, said in a press release announcing the EIC funding:
“The micrometer-accurate detection of moving objects, for example the hand in our scanner, is one of the challenging tasks in biometric image capture. With high-performance graphics processors and artificial intelligence-based software, we have managed to fit this complex issue into an easy-to-use device measuring just 15 x 15 x 15 cm.”
Marion Walsmann, who represents the Thuringia region as a Member of the European Parliament, added:
“With the new system, IDloop is setting a new standard in biometrics in the global market. The project is an impressive example of how Thuringian companies and research institutions work hand in hand with Europe. This is how technology from Thuringia reaches the whole world.”
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