In the post 9/11 world the ability to quickly and accurately validate the authenticity of personal identification documents, such as driver's licenses and passports, has become mission-critical for airport security authorities and government security agencies.
At the same time, preventing identity theft continues to be a pressing issue for the financial services, hospitality and gaming industries.
In a post 9/11 world the ability to quickly and accurately validate the authenticity of personal identification documents such as driver's licenses and passports has become mission critical for airport authorities and government security agencies. At the same time, preventing identity theft continues to be a pressing issue for the financial services, hospitality and gaming industries.
People use identification documents during travel, financial transactions, authorization of access to restricted areas, to perform regulated activities and to purchase controlled products. The problem is that documents can be changed through forgery or tampering in situations ranging from an 18-year old with a fake ID to a terrorist attempting to enter the country illegally.
The problem of document authentication (or documetrics) is compounded by the large number of document formats and embedded authentication features now in use. The 50 US states currently employ more than 250 different driver's license designs. And documents include a tremendous variety of human- and machine-readable data ranging from text, numbers, graphics, photos, fingerprints, embedded barcodes, magnetic stripes, IC chips, laminates and distinctive patterns that are visible under infrared (IF) and ultraviolet (UV) illumination.
In this chaotic landscape, human- and even machine-aided document examinations can be slow and inaccurate, What is needed is a document system that can automate the authentication processes for existing documents in use with a high degree of accuracy, processing speed and reliability.
Imaging Automation Inc. is a leading developer of advanced technology and software applications for document authentication, biometrics, and data collection. When the company needed to upgrade its passport authentication platform to enhance processing performance and scalability, it enlisted the services of WIN Enterprises Inc. of North Andover, MA. WIN is a privately-held global company that designs, develops and manufactures embedded systems for OEMs servicing the telecommunications, medical, network management and biometrics industries.
WIN Enterprise worked with Imaging Automation to design and manufacture a unique, small form factor Intel® Architecture processor board for Imaging Automation's iA-thenticate platform. The use of low-voltage Intel® Atom™ processors (code name Cedarview) and embedded chipsets enabled WIN to create the working prototype for a high-performance, small form factor, highly thermally efficient design in only 10 weeks.
The iA-thenticate platform is more than a document reader. It is a powerful networked documetric system with the processing intelligence to scan, analyze and compare the characteristics of hundreds of different kinds of identification documents against pre-programmed parameters in real time. The system is designed to interface with a central server to perform database lookups that check documents against dynamic "watch lists" of potential terrorist and criminals.
More than one thousand iA-thenticate platforms are currently deployed at international points-of entry, airports, and other sites. The system has been deployed at Boston's Logan International Airport and other commercial aviation facilities throughout the world.
One of the platform's most distinctive characteristics is its extremely small footprint. The device implements a PC/104-plus processor board in a unique "L"-shaped configuration measuring 6" x 9" with a 2" x 5.5" cut-off section. The iA-thenticate system includes a variety of illumination sources for document scanning, including visible light, IR, UV, and is capable of capturing other machinereadable data and patterns through whole-page scans. The system includes a proprietary PCI-based video capture card to support the Imaging Automation scanner.
According to Joel Beck, Imaging Automation's VP of Operations, documetric platforms must "fight for available desk space" in end-user environments, making small form factor a critical design requirement.
Processing speed is critical to ensure a high rate of throughput in airports and other high-traffic venues. To meet this requirement, Imaging Automation asked for a system capable of performing up to 10 different document comparisons in less than five seconds. In addition, Imaging Automation wanted a scalable design that could handle enhanced biometric algorithms, including complex facial, fingerprint, retinal and iris scans.
Due to the sensitivity of scanning lenses to dust and other environmental contaminants, cooling fans could not be used in the design, despite the requirement for high-speed embedded processors and chipsets, on-board memory and a hard drive.
In most applications, the iA-thenticate platform needs to operate 24/7 and work reliably with the standard peripherals, including serial and USB devices, video displays and printers. Building the electronics using long-life embedded components was also important to ensure a long product life and to maximize the company's investment in certifications.
In addition to meeting these stringent functional requirements, WIN Enterprises faced extreme time pressure to complete the design. As Joel explains, "time-to-market is important. A major issue coming out of the current security environment is that a lot of agencies want to be sure they have access to readily available solutions, while staying current with the latest technologies."
To deliver, WIN relied on its extensive experience with proven embedded Intel Architecture building blocks.
Says WIN Enterprises CEO and Chief Technical Officer Chiman Patel, "The key to the design is the ability to place a great deal of processing power in a very small area."
""While the current design of the iA-thenticate platform features a low-voltage Atom processor, WIN Enterprises developed a scalable processor board designed to implement embedded Intel Atom processors in relatively high performance configurations. The Intel chipset provides video and Ethernet LAN capability, and USB connectivity enables easy attachment of peripherals."
In addition to specifying thermally efficient Intel® embedded processors, WIN met the fanless cooling requirement with a unique heat pipe cooling system that connects to a heat-sink external to the chassis.
WIN also performed environmental testing for temperature, power, and vibration; and the design achieved an MTBF of 185,000 hours at an ambient temperature of 25° C.
The key design requirement for the Imaging Automation iA-thenticate platform included scalable processing power, small form factor and fast time-to-market. WIN Enterprises worked closely with Intel to develop a complete understanding of available embedded processors and chipsets. WIN also created reference designs based on Intel Architecture and had already completed a design based on the Intel chipset prior to the Imaging Automation project. This experience enabled WIN to create and validate a cost-effective and highly manufacturable design, producing a working prototype in a 10- week time frame.
While WIN Enterprises was originally contracted by Imaging Automation to design and manufacture the iA-thenticate processor board, during the second phase of the project WIN will take over major responsibility for the electro-mechanical assembly of the finished product. Upgradability is extremely important to Imaging Automation. Going forward, the WIN Enterprises board design enables the company to take advantage of the Intel roadmap for scalable performance, while maintaining a standard platform for future software enhancements.
WIN Enterprises is an Affiliate Member with the Intel IoT Solutions Alliance, a community of communications and embedded developers and solution providers.