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Virginia Tech installs MorphoWave touchless biometric readers

Virginia Tech is the latest campus to install touchless biometric readers in its dining halls, deploying MorphoWave hand readers from IDEMIA. Virginia Tech is now the second university in as many weeks to announce its use of the MorphoWave product to enable student access to campus dining, following a release from St. Thomas University last week.

According to the Virginia Tech card services website, the biometric readers have only been installed at two of the university’s dining facilities, but provided the initial phase goes smoothly an expansion of the program is expected. Participation in the program is optional, but using the MorphoWave reader is expected to offer a quicker alternative than the Hokie Passport ID Card for dining hall access.

University officials are touting the speed and efficiency of the biometric readers as a major selling point for students. The readers remove the need to rummage through a wallet or purse for a Hokie Passport ID Card, and also provide reprieve for hungry students who may have lost their ID Card.

Another factor that Hokie Passport services is highlighting is the hygienic benefits of the touches biometric readers. The MorphoWave reader doesn’t require any physical contact between the hand and the reader, preventing cross contact and the spread of bacteria. And from a workflow standpoint the university benefits from added flexibility as the MorphoWave readers don’t require a cashier, saving labor costs or enabling dining personnel to be deployed to other areas.

At the time of enrollment, the MorphoWave reader captures biometric data that determines a set of points on your fingertips. The biometric identifier then converts these points into an encrypted algorithm, representing fingerprints through an array of numbers that are stored in the database as a biometric template.

This algorithm connects students board plans to their student ID number so that every time a student visits a MorphoWave reader, they simply wave their hand through the reader and the system will match the stored template.

In the same way as being issued a Hokie Passport ID Card, students must present a valid form of photographic identification to enroll in the biometric program. Hokie Passport ID Cards are preferred for this, but the university also accepts US-issued driver’s licenses, international passports, or US Military IDs.

For more on the MorphoWave product and how it’s being deployed in campus dining, check out our in depth coverage with the University of Maryland.

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