Biometric spielerei: Applied Minds

Reading this article on Applied Minds sure brings back memories:

Co-founder Danny Hillis escorts me down a hallway that dead-ends into an old-fashioned red phone booth. The phone rings. He places receiver to ear.
The blue moon jumps over the purple sky,” he says, and hangs up.
Suddenly, the booth becomes a door, swinging out to reveal a vast, open room filled with engineers, gadgets and big ideas.
from Applied Minds Think Remarkably (Wired)

I remember Maarten, Henry, Frederik and me, in the early days of Keyware (in 1998, I think), preparing a demo for Walter Debrouwer‘s Riverland company. The latter wanted to impress his prospective client BP, and so he wanted a biometric access control to his ‘labs’.

We hacked something together with a hastily purchased badge-reader-annex-intercom, linked to a PC’s soundcard, running the first beta demo of our speaker authentication software (based on a Lernout & Hauspie technology). I think we even added the Visionics (now Identix) face recognition software we licensed, linked to a QuickCam webcam. So the system would recognize your face, recognize your voice while you pronounce your passphrase and then let you in when it was sure enough it was actually you. Wonderful when it works. And when it doesn’t, you can always explain about false rejection, false acceptance, and equal error rate. Maarten and me even wrote a white paper on the subject, but I can’t find that document back, only references (PDF) to it.

Frederik is now at Vasco, Maarten is at Imec, Henry has set up Broncoway. But I have no idea what happened to Veronique, An, Anke, Rudy and the lovely Julia. Maybe it’s time for a reunion.


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