LONDON Loughborough-based electronics manufacturer Datalink Electronics is setting a joint venture with Rolls-Royce and private investors to develop an signature verification device.
Sign Assured is being set up to develop, manufacture and market the signature verification device using intellectual property from Rolls-Royce and Datalink’s research, development and manufacturing resources.
Datalink has a 25 per cent stake in Sign Assured alongside Rolls-Royce and private investors Charlie Ding and Professor David Auckland, both from Manchester University and Tony Endfield, managing director of housewares company Rayware.
Signature verification could be used is systems for employees to clock on and off as it removes the ability of a colleague to clock someone else in. Building security is another area of application and financial institutions may use the system when dealing with internal transfers. The technology could eventually be used to supplement chip and PIN security for credit and debit cards.
Eric Luckwell, managing director of Datalink and director of Sign Assured, said, “This is an exciting development for Datalink as it sees us potentially having our own product range. Growing competition in the global manufacturing services market makes this diversification necessary. We are proud to be working with such a prestigious company as Rolls-Royce.”
Professor Auckland and Charlie Ding will be chairman and managing director of Sign Assured respectively. Ding will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the company.
The device arose from technology developed by Rolls-Royce to measure acoustic emissions from aircraft engines. When people sign their names they write with different amounts of pressure and speed, resulting in an ‘acoustic signature’ that is as distinctive as a traditional signature but much more difficult to replicate. The new device will ‘listen’ to how people sign their name and store this information in a database. Current verification systems are image-based, with inherent higher costs.
Paul Harris, corporate development manager at Rolls-Royce, said, “The technology has already undergone extensive testing and development. More than 7,000 signatures have been entered into the system and the accuracy so far has been excellent. The lower costs and high robustness of the system make it suitable for many applications where companies and consumers are interested in improved security.”