The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has signed a licensing agreement with iPulse Systems, a South African company that specialises in the design and manufacture of biometric solutions.
In terms of the agreement, iPulse Systems will have access to the CSIR-developed C++ fingerprint software development kit (SDK). The kit comprises a collection of functions for performing various fingerprint image processing operations such as extracting features from a fingerprint image and comparing them with those of another to determine if they match. The majority of the algorithms incorporated in the fingerprint software development kit were developed at the CSIR.
“Compared to similar products on the market, our software development kit gives users access to low-level fingerprint features and is thus also suitable for use as a research tool. It will empower system developers to make customisations, currently not possible with existing offerings, which will distinguish their products from those of competitors,” says Dick Mathekga, a senior researcher who leads biometrics research at the CSIR.
“For example, in addition to a fingerprint class, our classification function gives the location of singular points that are used for classification. This information may be used by fingerprint identification system developers to decrease the identification search time by creating sub-classes within each fingerprint class, using the distance between singular point locations,” he explains.
Mathekga describes the CSIR’s fingerprint software development kit as “the culmination of the investment by the Department of Science and Technology into the development of biometric competency in the country.”
iPulse Systems boasts an impressive line-up of clients ranging from international brands such as McDonalds, Internet Solutions, Teraco, G4S, LaFarge and Blue Label, to several South African government departments and institutions (including SARS, the SAPS, the Post Office and SANRAL).
According to iPulse Systems’ CEO Gary Chalmers, this licensing agreement gives the company the ability to design and build a uniquely African product that can be specifically customised for the continent.
“This means that we can offer solutions that can be targeted at key industry sectors, such as mining, where the labour force have specific issues relating to their prints. Using the customisable features of this SDK, we can work with our partners in these sectors to drive increased performance on our devices,” he says.
Brian Mphahlele, senior commercialisation manager and lead negotiator at the CSIR on this deal, describes the agreement: “iPulse secured a royalty bearing non-exclusive know-how license to commercially exploit the CSIR-developed fingerprint processing software in Sub Saharan Africa. This is part of the CSIR’s strategy to provide strategic independence to South African high-tech enterprises, by reducing their dependence on foreign technology solutions suppliers.”