For Fraunhofer researchers in Darmstadt, intelligent living is the goal. Biometrics is what makes it so comfortable. The research center “Smart Living & Biometric Technologies” now stands for this approach.
(Darmstadt/Rostock/Graz) The researchers of Fraunhofer IGD do not primarily view biometrics as a security technology. They mainly see it as a comfort technology. People should no longer depend on key, password or PIN when it comes to authentication. Fingerprint or face are just two of the physical features making a person recognizable. In increasingly intelligent buildings, this technology should have a high profile. “Biometrics is one of the key elements for intelligent living”, says Dr. Andreas Braun, Head of the newly founded “Smart Living & Biometric Technologies” Competence Center at Fraunhofer IGD. “Only once the home knows without a doubt that authorized residents are in it, will it make the requested customized comfort and security functions available.”
Many people are already familiar with a fingerprint scanner at the front door to unlock it. Braun and his team believe that the previous use of biometric systems as mere access control is far below their potential. “Value is added only by combining other functions of home control”, explains Braun. The Fraunhofer researchers have a home in mind in which many sensors - discreetly in the background - recognize the residents’ position, identity and requests and activate comfort functions defined by the residents. “All data must remain inside the home and thus under the user’s control”, explains Braun. “Privacy and the protection of personal rights are a matter of great concern to us.”
One example: Primary school children return home around lunch time. The camera has already recognized them by their faces and by the way they walk and unlocks the door as soon as one of them presses the door handle. In the kitchen, the grandparents are preparing lunch, and the display informs them that their grandchildren are coming home.
Intelligent living is described with the technical terms “Active Assisted Living (AAL)” and “Smart Living”. Combining these with biometrics is the task of the Fraunhofer researchers around Braun. The research center is a logical merger of the former competence centers “Interactive Multimedia Appliances” and “Identification and Biometrics” of Fraunhofer IGD.