27 Oct Appleton school installs biometric security
Appleton, Wis. — The Academy of Appleton has started to use hand-geometry scanners to secure its key point of entry. Children at the Academy wait indoors to be picked up by their parents, who must now, along with the faculty members, use the biometric HandReader in order to gain access to the school. A different component of the technology allows staff to enter the building during specified times on evenings and weekends.
The HandReader, a technology from Recognition Systems, the biotechnology component of Ingersoll-Rand, secures both doors of the main entryway at once. Parents and staff enter their PINs on the keypad to open the outer door and place their hands into the HandReader for verification to open the inner door.
“That’s called layering. You need two credentials,” said Tom Brigham, a spokesperson for Recognition Systems.
The HandReader itself works by taking more than 100 readings of the dimensions of the hand in under one second. Due to the number of readings, the technology will seldom fail to grant users access, Brigham said, so “even if my knuckle’s a little screwed up, if the other 85 spots are right on, it’ll let me in.” The Academy’s previous system required faculty to respond to a bell that rung in the school’s office in order to let parents into the school.
“The standard of success of the hand reader solution is a reject rate of approximately one person out of 1,000 or better,” said Judy Marriott Bar-Lev, co-president and co-founder of the Academy. The reader is equipped with an adaptive learning algorithm that adjusts itself to natural changes in the hand that occur due to weather conditions, aging, or pregnancy, and can even allow for non-biological items, such as jewlery.
School officials decided on the HandReader because parents and faculty have no single code, key, or access card to forget. The system not only utilizes a personal recognition system, but also allows faculty to know who is entering the building, and at what time.
“The HandReader best fits our needs and is easy to use,” Bar-Lev said. “The only way that [a hand wouldn’t be read], since it takes an average of three readings, is if someone programmed it with absolutely no jewelry on, and then all of a sudden come in with loads of rings on, or if someone had a hand injury.”
The school, which moved into its own building last September, hadn’t implemented a system like this before. The Academy will be most likely not expand the system to any of its other entryways unless it expands the building, since, according to Bar-Lev, “we don’t have a reason to put it on another door at this point.”
Katy Williams is a Madison-based freelance writer for WTN.