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West Virginia University Tests Biometric Security System

West Virginia University Tests Biometric Security System
By Ronald Roach


West Virginia University is testing a biometric hand geometry reader at one of its residence halls and the university recreation center. The reader allows students to gain entry with a simple hand scan. The testing may lead to the school becoming one of the first higher education institutions in the nation to widely adopt a biometric security system.

“We wanted to test this integrated system in one of WVU’s smaller residence halls first, and also at the recreation center before launching it campus wide,” says Amir Mohammadi, associate vice president for WVU student affairs. “We think people are going to like it. As we’ve said, it is not intrusive. It is a fast, safe and secure way to enter these facilities. No one can steal your hand identity like they can steal or use your ID card.”

Mohammadi says there are about 220 female residents at the Boreman North dormitory where the system was installed for the 2002 fall semester. By the fall of 2003, WVU plans to install biometrics in all residence halls, and also will be exploring use of biometrics in the dining halls, vending areas, computer labs and athletic venues.

The system was put together by Diebold Inc., which makes identification and security systems for banks, hospitals and government agencies. With the system, students enter a five-digit identification number and then place their hand in the reader. The scanner takes more than 90 measurements of the hand in terms of length, width, thickness and surface area in the span of one second. If the hand is authenticated, the door unlocks.

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