Daily Archives: January 5, 2017

Global Access Control and Authentication Market: Partnerships and New Technologies will Propel Market

Players in the global access control and authentication systems market are increasingly focusing on cloud-based technologies as remote management offers cost efficiency and convenience. Recent developments in the cloud-based authentication systems market include field-level and cloud-based integration. Demand for increased security is expected to boost the global access control and authentication market. The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 15.3% during the period between 2014 and 2020, and reach a valuation of US$49,890.3 million by 2020.

Partnership between Key Players to Create New Opportunities for Global Access Control and Authentication Market

Vendors in the global access control and authentication market are finding new avenues to partner and boost their businesses. Suprema Inc., a key player in the biometric authentication systems market, has joined hands with Access Control Technology Ltd., a major access control platform. The partnership would lead to the integration of Suprema’s biometric technology with ACTenterprise access control system. ACTenterprise access control system offers varying degrees of access to different people in an organization. Integrating Suprema’s technology will allow users to administrate biometric access control entirely through one software system.

Suprema has already partnered with other security platform providers such as Paxton and Genetec to integrate its BioConnect technology with the partners’ security platforms. Recently, the company has offered its core finger biometric technology to be integrated into the access control system of the medical device firm CorMatrix Cardiovascular.

EyeLock, a biometrics company that offers iris-based access control, has partnered with COMTEX, an electronic security integrator in Latin America, to offer its services to large and small enterprises as well as government agencies and municipalities in the region. The iris-based access control system offered by EyeLock is known to have high identification accuracy and a false acceptance rate of only one in 1.5 million.

Clients Prefer Eco-Friendly Technology for Access Control and Authentication Systems

With increasing focus on green technologies, companies are demanding eco-friendly technology for access control and authentication systems as well. Farpointe Data has introduced fleaPower option in access control readers to ensure long-term energy savings for its client companies. The technology cuts energy costs and during emergency power situations, the fleaPower option allows proximity card and smart card readers to reduce average current draw by almost 50%. This leads the back-up batteries of the access control systems to last longer during power failures.

New Sectors Interest Players in Global Access Control and Authentication Market

Though vendors in the global access control and authentication market have traditionally focused on sectors such as retail, hospitality, healthcare, education, oil and gas, nuclear power, rail, aviation, and road and city transport, new sectors have caught the attention of the vendors. Mobile authentication platforms have been developed by some of the players in the market, especially the small and medium players. Precise Biometrics has launched BioMatch Mobile solution, which has been adopted by two Chinese smartphone manufacturers – Huawei and Meizu. India-based Innefu Labs have developed AuthShield, a multimodal mobile authentication system designed to work as an extra layer of security in a wide range of applications.

Source: TMR

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Universal Fingerprint-Protected Autofill

Crypta is a fingerprint-protected USB device that allows you to log into your account on any computer with your fingerprint. Plug Crypta into a computer, select the account you want to log in to, and scan your finger. Crypta is compatible with most computers, tablets, and phones, and it works on any site or application that requires a username and password.

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It works by emulating a USB keyboard, it types in the correct username and password when it detects your fingerprint. It stores your usernames and passwords and inputs them for you. It works without any additional drivers or software.

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It issecure, utilizing fingerprint recognition, encryption, and lengthy, randomized passwords to make sure all of your accounts are safe. It needs to be set up once. Using an open-source and offline administrative software, you can configure all of the data. After setup, it will work on any computer system: smartphones, laptops, desktops, tablets, and more.

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The project campaign is on the Kickstarter, the early bird pricing are gone, but you can still pick it up for $135, an estimated delivery is on March of 2016.

 

 

Source: Kickstarter

 

Sandia Labs teams with industry to improve human-data interaction

Intelligence analysts working to identify national security threats in warzones or airports or elsewhere often flip through multiple images to create a video-like effect. They also may toggle between images at lightning speed, pan across images, zoom in and out or view videos or other moving records.

Sandia National Laboratories researcher Mike Haass demonstrates how an eye tracker under a computer monitor is calibrated to capture his eye movements on the screen. Haass and others are working with a San Diego-based small business, EyeTracking Inc., to figure out how to  capture within tens of milliseconds the content beneath the point on the screen where the viewer is looking. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Sandia National Laboratories researcher Mike Haass demonstrates how an eye tracker under a computer monitor is calibrated to capture his eye movements on the screen. Haass and others are working with a San Diego-based small business, EyeTracking Inc., to figure out how to capture within tens of milliseconds the content beneath the point on the screen where the viewer is looking. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

These dynamic images demand software and hardware tools that will help intelligence analysts analyze the images more effectively and efficiently extract useful information from vast amounts of quickly changing data, said Laura McNamara, an applied anthropologist at Sandia National Laboratories who has studied how certain analysts perform their jobs.

“Our core problem is designing computational information systems that make people better at getting meaningful information from those data sets, which are large and diverse and coming in quickly in high-stress environments,” McNamara said.

A first step toward technological solutions for government agencies and industry grappling with this problem is a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement that Sandia has signed with EyeTracking Inc., a San Diego small business that specializes in eye tracking data collection and analysis.

“Both Sandia and EyeTracking are being helped by a direct link between each other,” said EyeTracking president James Weatherhead. “The hope is for both sides to come out with these tools and feed solutions back to different government agencies.”

Eye tracking monitors gazes, measures workload

In general, eye tracking measures the eyes’ activity by monitoring a viewer’s gaze on a computer screen, noting where viewers look and what they ignore and timing when they blink. Current tools work well analyzing static images, like the children’s picture book “Where’s Waldo,” and for video images where researchers anticipate content of interest, for example the placement of a product in a movie.

Sandia researcher Laura Matzen says such eye tracking data has been used in laboratory environments to study how people reason and differences between the ways experts and novices use information, but now Sandia needs to study real-world, or dynamic, environments.

If EyeTracking and Sandia can figure out ways to provide improved data analysis for dynamic images, Matzen said researchers can:

  • design enhanced experiments or field studies using dynamic images;
  • compare how people or groups of people interact with dynamic visual data;
  • advance cognitive science research to explore how expertise affects visual cognition, which could be used to create more effective training programs; and
  • inform new system designs, for example, to help scale up certain types of surveillance by partially automating some analyst steps or highlighting anomalies to help analysts notice them or make sense of them more quickly.

EyeTracking provides hardware, software, Sandia offers access to analysts

EyeTracking is the exclusive distributor of the FOVIO Eye Tracker, a camera about the size of a soda can that’s placed under a computer monitor to track viewers’ eye movements. The company was started by Sandra Marshall, a cognitive psychologist from San Diego State University, who has worked with colleagues to develop software packages for collecting and analyzing eye tracking data.

Under the agreement, Sandia researchers Dan Morrow and Mike Haass are working with EyeTracking to figure out how to capture within tens of milliseconds the content beneath the point on a screen where a viewer is looking.

“How soon does the analyst look at the target region? How long to they linger there? Do they ever get there?” Morrow asks. “If they are dwelling in another area, then we might go back after the fact to figure out why they are doing that.”

Until now, eye tracking research has shown how viewers react to stimuli on the screen. For example, a bare, black tree against a snow-covered scene will naturally attract attention. This type of bottom-up visual attention, where the viewer is reacting to stimuli, is well understood, Matzen said.

But what if the viewer is looking at the scene with a task in mind, like finding a golf ball in the snow? They might glance at the tree quickly, but then their gaze goes to the snow to search for the golf ball. This type of top-down visual cognition is not well understood and Sandia hopes to develop models that predict where analysts will look, she said.

Sandia researchers have worked with intelligence analysts to better understand how they do their jobs. In one experiment, they filmed them and asked them to describe their thought processes at points in the video, but because their visual task strategies had become automatic over the course of their careers, they couldn’t accurately describe how they did their jobs, McNamara said.

“We know a lot about information processing, the physiology and neuroscience of visual processing,” she said. “How do we take that and apply it in these highly dynamic and real-world environments? The technologies are developed around a laboratory model as opposed to these real-world task environments.”

Partnership could lead to software designs that keep end user in mind

McNamara says researchers need to anticipate analysts’ decisions in real-world environments to create a model of top-down visual decision-making. “We want to understand how fixation on something leads to analyst decisions, such as detouring to get information from a different source,” she said. “Right now, there’s no way to do that kind of complex information foraging modeling and incorporate eye tracking. You can’t do it, unless you want to go back and hand code every single fixation.”

That’s “incredibly tedious,” Morrow said, so he and Haass are exploring how to match time-stamped data with the content the viewer is focused on as they toggle, zoom or pan through their work day.

“You might build this great radar, for example, but if you haven’t thought through how that data is interpreted, it’s not going to be successful because it’s the whole system including the human analyst that creates mission success,” Morrow said.

The CRADA and several other projects at Sandia aim to strengthen the connections between humans and technology and to design systems with the end user in mind, McNamara said.

“Where this could end up going is ensuring that as we invest money on information and analysis environments for intelligence analysts who are facing this firehose of information, we don’t give them software that increases their cognitive and perceptual load or that they just can’t use,” she said.

Source: Sandia

Toeing the Line: Study finds brain cells that signal path of travel

Imagine you’re navigating a city like New York, or any other that’s laid out on a grid. Suppose you run into a roadblock as you’re heading north. How do you know that you can turn to your left, say, and then take a right at the next intersection to continue in your original direction? According to research from the University of California San Diego, it may be thanks to some newly identified neurons in an area of your brain called the subiculum.

In a paper published by Nature Neuroscience, the researchers say they have found neurons that help an animal align itself within a cognitive map of its environment. Working with rats, the researchers observe that cells in the subiculum seem to encode an animal’s current axis of travel. The neurons signal “I’m on this line, in this orientation.”

“We’re describing an entirely new and unexpected form of neural activity,” said senior author Douglas Nitz, a professor of cognitive science in the UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences. “The cells fire when the animal travels in either direction along a single axis.”

Rat on a rope. Credit: iStock/ziggy_mars

The rats ran on six interconnected routes much like a city grid, and the researchers took recordings from single neurons in the subiculum. Neurons that the researchers have dubbed “axis-tuned” fired when the animal traveled in either direction on a particular line – one of these firing, for example, when the animal moved north to south or south to north, but staying quiet for east-west. Others were activated for other lines of travel.

“The novel representation here is that the rat is mentally grouping these different locations,” said first author and UC San Diego Department of Cognitive Science Ph.D. student Jacob Olson. “Functionally, the routes are all the same, and what the axis-tuned neuron appears to do is encode the functional similarity among different paths. It encodes how multiple pathways are oriented to each other and connected.”

Schematic of route-running and open-field foraging tasks. Credit: UC San Diego

Like humans, Nitz said, rats tend to create and travel on pathways. But the researchers also checked if these neurons worked during open-field foraging. They did not. They fired only when the rats were traveling on paths.

The neurons appear to be distinct from head direction cells discovered earlier, the researchers write, for two reasons: Head direction neurons fire when an animal’s head is pointed a certain way but not in the opposite direction. They also fire in an open field.

Three examples of axis-tuned subiculum neurons. Each panel depicts firing rate color-mapped as a function of track position. White arrows mark directions and positions with highest firing. Each panel also depicts firing rate maps for the arena foraging session. Credit: UC San Diego

The axis-tuned cells account for about 10 percent of the subiculum neurons, the researchers estimate.

The subiculum is one of the primary outputs of the hippocampus, they note, a region of the brain known to be involved in orientation, location and episodic memory. But what kind of signal the subiculum produces has been a bit of mystery.

“This neural activity is a brand new kid on the block in a rich field of literature,” said Nitz. The axis-tuned cell adds to what we already know about orientation encoding in the brain, he said, and takes its place among other cells important to navigation and orientation: place cells, grid cells and head direction cells.

Next steps for the research include studies on how much experience a rat needs with a path before the axis-tuned cells begin functioning, and on whether the representations show up in humans as well.

Source: UC San Diego

RNA pathway plays key role in health, lifespan, fly study shows

Humans and other animals carry rogue sequences of DNA in their genomes called transposable elements (TEs). To prevent passing TEs to their offspring, they employ the piRNA pathway in their reproductive organs to block the elements from being active in their sperm and eggs. With a new study in flies, Brown University biologists are the first to show that the anti-TE activity of the piRNA pathway also operates in a normal non-reproductive body tissue, the fly fat body, and that it helps to sustain the life of the animal.

“It’s required for normal health and longevity,” said Dr. Stephen Helfand, senior author of the study in Nature Communications and a professor of biology at Brown University.

Most previous reports of piRNA at work outside of reproductive organs were in cancer or stem cells, with one study suggesting it may also be present in a subset of adult fly neurons, but no one had ever measured its consequences in normal health and aging.

Green fluorescence shows where transposable elements are moving about in this fly’s fat body cells in the absence of a fully in tact piRNA pathway. Credit: Brian Jones

In experiments led by Brown graduate student Brian Jones, the research team tracked several components of the pathway, such as the presence of piRNAs and the expression of associated “piwi” and “flamenco” genes, in the fat body tissue of flies. The fat body is akin to adipose and liver tissues in mammals and also contributes to flies’ immune systems.

Significant health effects

Once the researchers confirmed that the piRNA pathway was active in a normal, mature body tissue, they conducted several experiments to see what happened in the flies when they knocked components of the pathway out. For example, with the piwi gene gone, flies had significantly fewer piRNAs than flies who had a copy.

To see if a compromised pathway led to unchecked transcription of TEs, the researchers used a method that makes cells glow green when particular TEs move around within the genome. Flies without piwi lit up brightly.

By other measures, the researchers found that piwi-lacking flies experienced increased DNA damage compared to flies with a working piwi gene, and flies lacking in either piwi or flamenco had less fat than controls. Flies without piwi succumbed to starvation more quickly, and flies with either of the genes knocked out lived considerably shorter lives than flies with a working copy of both genes.

Specifically, about four in five flies with a working piwi gene were still alive at 60 days of age, but virtually all of the piwi-lacking flies were dead long before then. Among flies with a flamenco gene intact, about half were still alive at 60 days, while those lacking any flamenco had died off.

In one more experiment, the team tested whether a human HIV drug called 3TC or lamivudine, which blocks the step needed to make more transposable element DNA, could rescue flies without flamenco. It did to a significant extent, allowing many flies lacking flamenco to live past 60 days.

In future experiments, the Helfand lab plans to try other methods of prolonging fly lifespan, for instance by overexpressing components of the piRNA pathway.

The biology of aging

The discovery that the piRNA pathway works in a fully developed, healthy, non-reproductive body tissue and protects health and lifespan is an important finding, Helfand said, but it’s not clear yet how far the discovery can take the biology of aging.

“We are just identifying that it is in this specific tissue, and we’re leaving room for the possibility that it may be in other tissues in the body that are not gonadal and this may also be the case for other animals as well,” Jones said. “It’s possible that this pathway has roles in other somatic tissues.”

It’s also not clear whether the piRNA pathway has similar effects on health in mammals and, in particular, humans.

But in recent years Helfand and colleagues at Brown have published several papers using a variety of models, including human cells, that together strongly associate aging, increased TE activity, poor health and decreased longevity. The findings have led them to posit a “transposon theory of aging.”

Now with a $9.6 million federal grant awarded earlier this year, Helfand’s close colleague John Sedivy, professor of biology, is leading a three-year, multi-institution effort to test the theory and to determine if interventions are possible.

Source: Brown University