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Interview With Torsten Nordentoft, Technical Director, CardLab ApS.

Interview With Torsten Nordentoft, Technical Director, CardLab ApS.

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Published by findbiometrics
We are a group of investors who invest in different kinds of technologies and one of the partners had this idea about whether it would be possible to have biometric recognition on a credit card. We initially started by looking at what kind of patents were in this field and we found that there were a number of companies who had filed their patents for the last fifteen years for biometric recognition and also dynamic magnetic stripes.
We are a group of investors who invest in different kinds of technologies and one of the partners had this idea about whether it would be possible to have biometric recognition on a credit card. We initially started by looking at what kind of patents were in this field and we found that there were a number of companies who had filed their patents for the last fifteen years for biometric recognition and also dynamic magnetic stripes.

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Published by: findbiometrics on Dec 22, 2009
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12/21/2009

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Interview with Torsten Nordentoft, TechnicalDirector, CardLab ApS.
Nov-15-08
FB
 Can you please tell us about the history of CardLab?
CardLab
 We are a group of investors who invest in different kinds oftechnologies and one of the partners had this idea about whether itwould be possible to have biometric recognition on a credit card.We initially started by looking at what kind of patents were in this field andwe found that there were a number of companies who had filed theirpatents for the last fifteen years for biometric recognition and alsodynamic magnetic stripes. The first thing we did solve was the dynamic magnetic stripe issuewhere many companies have tried for a long time to find a way to emulate the magnetic stripebut with no success. We found the right solution, solved the problem, and filed a patentapplication. The next challenge was to get the biometrics onto the card and that was probably
the biggest challenge. And that’s where we are; we have gone do
wn this road for four years andspent a large amount of money to get to this point. And it looks very promising. We havesubstantial interest from major banks in the U.S. and also other countries asking us for thepossibility of using it for citizen ID and passports.
FB
 You recently announced the final ISO 7810 compliant biometric credit card; can you tell us howthat works?
CardLab
 Well there are some key features. The first thing you have to really understand when you do thisis that you need to have a card that will go into the existing infrastructure without requiring anychange. You can imagine trying to change all the software for all the terminals or anything onthe hardware in a world where magnetic credit cards are used everywhere in the world. I do
n’t
have a number but we are talking of millions of terminals in an infrastructure that is very old andwell established so any change would not be welcome. We wanted to have a card that would gostraight into the industry without requiring any change. That meant we had to have anybiometric recognition and enrollment happening on board. And that is the key differencebetween what we are doing and what others are doing. Other cards hold a copy of thefingerprint on board, but enrolment and match is done off the card, using external sensors. Thisbecomes a security issue because the owner is no longer in control of his/her ID data. Thechallenge is to have the technology on the card, inside of the card powered by the card itselfwith an onboard battery. This is a very large challenge.
 
FB
 You got around that challenge with your unique patented snap switch. How does this work?
CardLab
 
When you have a microcontroller on a smartcard for whatever application and it’s going to be
powered by onboard power you really need to have a microcontroller that goes into sleep modewhere it consumes minimum power. Most microcontrollers will have that ability. Then you need
to bring it out of sleep mode…you need to wake it up. You do that typically by putting power to
two pins on the microcontroller. So you apply the two or three volts across these two pins andthe microcontroller will wake up. Traditionally this is done by a simple piece of wire and a dome
switch inside of the card and when you press the dome’s switch you create
a short circuit whichwill then power the microcontroller which will wake the card up. But that is an issue because ofthe dome switch. They are expensive, unreliable, difficult to find on the card, not user friendlyand often are depressed during the manufacturing process so you are draining the battery whileyou are baking the card. So we came up with a simple idea- we took a PIEZO disc which when
you bend or flick it, it would generate power. It’s very cheap and very simple. We took two wires
and soldered them in the microcontroller and when you flick it, it generates power and wakes
the microcontroller up. I don’t know why this hasn’t been thought of before and so we took out apatent on it. We can basically regulate how much you’ll either bend or flick
or tap the cardbefore it wakes up.
FB
 
Isn’t there than an opportunity for this to accidentally turn on?
 
CardLab
 When the card is in a wallet and is being bent we of course do not want it to turn on so we founda way to calibrate it so that you really need to tap it or flick it. You can adjust this and controlpretty precisely how much you need to tap or flick the card before it wakes up.
FB
 You mentioned some of the applications that this biometric card could be used for. Whichmarkets do you see this being utilized in?
CardLab
 There are two key markets. One is security access. There are many airports that use magneticcard for security. If you get hold of the card, you have access to the security areas, but byadding the biometric functionality to the card, you link the card to the owner. That means thatinstantly, without having to change anything at the Airport, you can use the card immediately.
You just need to replace the card and enroll the owner’s fingerprint to it.
 The other major market is the financial card market. Today fraud is mostly done by copyingcards, also called skimming, and this card will stop that, but the major increase in fraud willhappen with internet trading and online banking. This card will allow you to have a very securetransaction without being able to be hacked.

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