With President Obama’s recent suggestion that the penny be retired, there has been considerable talk of whether physical money--coins and paper bills--is necessary in society anymore. However, while plastic cards are certainly a more efficient method of transaction, some are even going so far as to say that credit and debit cards should also be done away with.
The logical question then is: how would people buy and sell things without actual money?
The answer is Biocryptology.
The science is a mix of biometrics, which uses physical traits for identification, and cryptology, or the study of encoding private information. The idea of using Biocryptology to distinguish an account holder from an identity thief is something that sounds so futuristic it is likely to come from the minds at MIT or Silicon Valley, right?
Wrong--Rapid City school, a small, remote state college in South Dakota is the current location of the world’s first experiments in Biocryptology, believe it or not.
At Rapid City’s School of Mines and Technology campus, the students involved in Biocryptology are dialed in on the science behind identification, and work diligently to bring this high-concept to reality.
“South Dakota is a place where people take risks,” said Joseph Wright, the school’s associate VP for research-economic development. “We’re very entrepreneurial.”
The students are unfazed by their being the first to break ground in this field, said Brian Wiles, a Miles mechanical engineering major that has been involved in the beta testing of the new technology.
“There was some hesitation, but the fact that it’s the first in the world--that’s the whole point of this school. We’re innovators.”
So what makes this idea so innovative, when fingerprint technology is far from new?
Well, for one, the students at Rapid City school are not your average college-kids. If mechanical engineering major Bernard Keeler wants a soda, for instance, he goes into the Miner’s Shack campus shop, types his birthdate into a keypad, and swipes not a card, but his finger.
The machine is then able to identify that Keeler is in fact Keeler by the print (and confirm that there is an actual blood-filled finger beneath the scanner) and adds his purchase to his student account.
This transaction happens all within a matter of seconds, and afterward an e-receipt is sent to the student’s smartphone.
This situation is not hypothetical, but is the reality of life at Rapid City in South Dakota, where the students are thinking ten steps ahead of modern technology.
Scanning sodas is obviously not all that Biocryptology can be used for, however, and those working on the technology at the school envision a future better-equipped for security breaches, and more efficient when it comes to money-transfer. After beta-testing finishes up in the secluded town in South Dakota, Biocryptology will likely travel out-of-state and become a more mainstream method of identity verification.
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