'Last mile’ fingerprints can help deliver healthcare



Cambridge start-up Simprints, awarded $2.45 million in new grant money, targets the developing world with fingerprinting technology to help deliver healthcare to 1.1 billion people with no formal identification.

  We think that the technology we’re developing can make a big, measurable difference in delivering healthcare.
    - Toby Norman

The popular conception of fingerprinting often stems from television detective drama, when a perfect print – with clear arches, loops and whorls – emerges from a powder-dusted window to pin the crime on a tricky culprit, perhaps a well-dressed gentleman safecracker. It is TV fiction, after all.

In the real, developing world, fingerprints are usually not so perfect or so clear. So a start-up connected to Cambridge Judge Business School is using advanced technology to make identification possible for even those with far-from-perfect “last-mile” fingerprints.

“Most biometric systems in use today were designed by and for people in high-income countries,” says Toby Norman, co-founder and CEO of Simprints, which is developing biometrics to help identify and reach the 1.1 billion people around the world without formal identification – a technique that can help medical professionals reach, treat and record these needy people. “In fact, many people in developing countries who have laboured with their hands have burns, scars and worn fingerprints that make them far less easy to read.”

Toby is a former Gates Scholar who holds a PhD in Management Science earned at Cambridge Judge Business School. Cambridge-based Simprints was one of the first start-up teams to be supported by the school’s Entrepreneurship Centre Accelerate Cambridge programme.

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Image: Zambia
Credit: Simprints

Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge

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