With the invention of a revolutionary biometric identification technology by the University of California, theft of newborn children from hospitals and clinics could soon become impossible. The technology that was partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is not commercially available yet but researchers say that it will be possible in one year. The biometric device called ION that can be operated with the flick of a finger works as an optical scanner to take clear images of an infant’s palms and finger which are stored in the form of encrypted templates. Researchers state that the device can be helpful in tracking the child’s vaccination schedules and detecting them if stolen or lost during natural disasters or wars.
The information of this portable device can be shared in a secure manner with mobile devices and also laptops. Though earlier attempts were made to develop technology to detect infants through bio-metric devices they have not been as successful. According to Dr. Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, Assistant Professor of UC San Diego’s School of Medicine that has developed this technology, it is user-friendly as it has been built after deep consultations with caregivers and infants.
ION has been specifically created to fit the size and movements of infants and their reflexes without hurting cultural sentiments of its parents and caregivers. Spencer explained that in several countries facial photography of an infant is not acceptable but hand photography to secure identity is readily welcome. The device’s instant and accurate fingerprinting technology can eliminate the requirement for carrying identification papers to provide basic healthcare facilities. The research team is also planning to add features that will enable caregivers to store health data like temperature, pulse, breathing rhythm and oxygen so that doctors can give appropriate care during emergency. The technology is meant to prevent child trafficking during migration and refugee settlement in remote areas.