Qritek Chooses Blackfin® to Drive Iris Authentication Algorithm
Got sensitive data stored on your PC or server? Qritek of Seoul Korea can help you "keep an eye on it" with its new IRIBIO Mouse biometric authentication system. The system uses a tiny camera and an embedded iris authentication engine board, both of which are conveniently housed in a computer mouse, allowing physical and logical separation from the host computer. Software embedded inside the mouse handles authentication using the user's unique iris pattern as the password. Registration and authentication data is even stored safely within the mouse, separate from the PC, eliminating threats from hackers.
During the development process, Qritek looked for a signal processor to drive its authentication algorithm and to store and manage the digitized iris data inside the system. The company needed a processor that would ultimately help make the system affordable to customers, but one that was also powerful enough to handle the job. The processor had to be small enough to fit inside a mouse and it had to operate on low power. After careful research, Qritek chose a Blackfin ADSP-BF533 processor from Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) because the processor was a good fit for all of the requirements of their project.
Biometrics for IT Systems
Biometrics, from the ancient Greek words "bios" and "metron," which mean "life" and "measure," is the study of automated methods for recognizing a person based on physiological or behavioral characteristics. Biometric authentication technologies measure and analyze physical and behavioral traits, including fingerprints, eye retinas and irises, facial patterns and hand measurements, as well as gait, voice patterns, and other characteristics.
An authentication algorithm, driven by a processor, registers a person into a database using one or more identifying physical or behavioral characteristics. The algorithm creates a digital template of the trait(s), which is then used as a basis for comparison each time the user logs into the system. Today, biometric technologies are the foundation of highly secure identification and personal verification systems that have become increasingly popular.
The iris is an excellent organ for use as a means of identification, even more so than a fingerprint. Here's why: each person has unique irises and fingerprints. However, 266 of the iris' distinguishing characteristics can be used to identify an individual. By contrast, a fingerprint has only 40 data points for comparison. What's more, the iris doesn't age, and it isn't affected by changes in the environment.
Qritek's IRIBIO Mouse
With the hardware manufactured by ODS, Qritek's IRIBIO Mouse system is a 600 DPI optical mouse, with an USB interface, and inside is an embedded iris camera. The camera includes a CMOS sensor, a white LED, an infrared LED, and a 15mm concave mirror. Here's how it works: a user picks up the mouse, and looks into a concave mirror to focus the eye, at which point the Iris camera calculates the position of the eye, making adjustments for behaviors, lighting, and eye size, including differences between oriental and western eye shapes. Then the camera takes a black and white image, overlays a circular grid on the image, and identifies areas of light and dark. It then checks it against previously stored templates in the database.
The CMOS image sensor, developed for the iris camera system by Pixel Plus Co., captures the iris data. Registration of the iris takes from seven to 10 seconds and iris recognition takes from 1 to 2 seconds with the IRIBIO Mouse, due to Qritek's fast algorithm and the speed and performance of the Blackfin processor. The Blackfin ADSP-BF533 processor is housed on Qritek's Embedded Engine Board, which is also inside the mouse. The 500-MHz version of the processor, which Qritek is using, drives the company's patented iris recognition algorithms and encrypted communication protocols. It is equipped with 16 MB SDRAM and 1 MB of flash memory, which is used for the embedded system and to store the biometrics data. Qritek's "self-learning" algorithms enable faster performance each time the system is used as it recognizes the user more readily and updates the data.
The IRIBIO Mouse also includes Windows-based software called IRIBIO Protector, which must be installed on a PC in order for it to recognize a user through the iris identification system. In addition to system authentication, the IRIBO Protector program protects a user's files, folders, and drivers. There is also an API/SDK to allow system developers to use an IRIBIO Mouse with servers or networked systems.
Qritek's ultimate goal in choosing a processor was to provide consumers with a fast, yet cost-effective authentication solution. As previously stated, the processor embedded inside the IRIBIO Mouse had to pack a lot of performance into a small footprint at a reasonable price and it had to feature low power consumption. Blackfin processors were perfect as they embody a new type of 16/32-bit embedded processors designed specifically to meet the computational demands and power constraints of embedded applications.
Blackfin processors combine a 32-bit RISC instruction set, dual 16-bit multiply accumulate (MAC) digital signal processing functionality, and 8-bit video processing performance. The processors deliver breakthrough signal processing performance and power efficiency with a RISC programming model. The Blackfin processor's unique combination of processing attributes eliminates the need for separate digital signal and control processors, which reduces bill of material costs and greatly simplifies hardware and software design tasks.
Fast video processing was important to Qritek and the ADSP-BF533 running at a speed of 500 MHz provided the performance the company required and at the right price. The processor offers on-chip memory of up to 148K, another very attractive feature for Qritek. The high clock speed and large internal cache memory of the Blackfin ADSP-BF533 processor easily handled Qritek's iris identification algorithm.
Blackfin processors combine a 32-bit RISC instruction set, dual 16-bit multiply accumulate (MAC) digital signal processing functionality, and 8-bit video processing Qritek leveraged the I/O capabilities of the processor to control both the white and infrared LEDs and to connect to the CMOS sensor. The ADSP-BF533 processor is a highly integrated system-on-chip solution. It combines industry standard interfaces with a high-performance signal-processing core so users such as Qritek can develop cost-effective solutions quickly without the need for costly external components. The system peripherals include a UART port, a SPI port, two serial ports (SPORTs) four general-purpose timers (three with PWM capability), a real-time clock, a watchdog timer, and a parallel peripheral interface (PPI). This is augmented by the system expansion capabilities of the part. The processor also contains high-speed serial and parallel ports for interfacing to a variety of audio, video, and modem codec functions, an interrupt controller for management of interrupts from on-chip peripherals or external sources, and power management control functions.
Blackfin processors combine a 32-bit RISC instruction set, dual 16-bit multiply accumulate (MAC) digital signal processing functionality, and 8-bit video processing All of the peripherals, except for the general-purpose I/O, real-time clock, and timers are supported by a DMA structure. There is also a separate memory DMA channel dedicated to data transfers between the processors' memory spaces, including external SDRAM and asynchronous memory. Multiple on-chip buses running at 133 MHz provide bandwidth to keep the processor core running along with activity on all of the on-chip and external peripherals. The processor includes an on-chip voltage regulator in support of its dynamic power management capability.
Low Power One of Qritek's key requirements for this project was low power. When a portable battery-powered application needs to run for a long period of time, the low power states of Blackfin processors are ideal. Because Blackfin processors are implemented in a 0.13υm CMOS process, they can dissipate approximately half the power of its closest competition. In addition, using the on-chip power management features (programmable voltage regulator and PLL, and low power modes), one can maximize battery life by using only as much processing power as required. Qritek said that Texas Instrument's processor consumed too much power and therefore was not a good match for their mobile project. Blackfin, however, with its low power consumption, was a perfect fit.
Qritek used ADI's VisualDSP++ integrated software development and debugging environment (IDDE), which enables efficient management of projects from start to finish from within a single interface. Qritek said VisualDSP++ was very easy to use for software integration. Because project development and debugging is integrated, a developer can move quickly and easily between editing, building, and debugging activities. Key features include the native C/C++ compiler, advanced graphical plotting tools, statistical profiling, and the VisualDSP++ Kernel (VDK), which allows code to be implemented in a structured and easier to scale manner. Other features include assembler, linker, libraries, splitter, cycle-accurate and functional-accurate compiled simulators, emulator support, and more. VisualDSP++ offers programmers a powerful yet easy-to-use programming tool with flexibility that reduces time to market. Qritek developers said it didn't take them much time at all to port their iris algorithms to the Blackfin processor.
Qritek also took advantage of ADI's HP-USB-ICE JTAG emulator, which works in conjunction with VisualDSP++ IDDE to help developers create, test, and debug advanced processor application software using the JTAG interface of the ADI processor.
Qritek is planning to use Blackfin processors in the future, especially after having accumulated so much experience with the processor; development next time will be even faster and easier. In fact, Qritek is already working on a new project using Blackfin. Keep an eye out for it.
For more information about Qritek, please visit Qritek.
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