IriTech has launched an Indiegogo project for an Android-based “Fidelys” smartwatch with iris recognition technology and a rotating-clicking bezel for I/O.
The main draw of the Fidelys is its “military grade” iris recognition technology, which avoids the need for vulnerable, inconvenient, hard to remember passwords, says IriTech. By visually verifying one’s iris, the technology can lock/unlock the Fidelys device itself, as well as encrypt/decrypt files and data, and control the launch of applications on Bluetooth connected mobile devices. It would also appear the Fidelys can talk directly to other smart devices such as door locks and various authentication devices.
Fidelys in black and white
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IriTech’s Fidelys is available for Indiegogo funding through mid August, starting at $199, with a May 2015 ship date. Pre-release development packages that start at $1,000 ship in March. The commercial Fidelys, which is due in July 2015, will sell for $250.
IriTech has yet to post full tech specs, although it did inform LinuxGizmos that the device runs on a version of Android. The company’s Linux-, Android- and Windows-compatible IriShield iris recognition cameras use a TMS320C6748 DSP (digital signal processor) from Texas Instruments. A $150 funding package for the Fidelys provides an IriShield, to be delivered in August, which offers access to an SDK, API, and FYIO (For-Your-Iris-Only) app that appear to be similar to versions that will appear on the Fidelys, so it’s possible the same processor is used.
The Fidelys smartwatch provides Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for communicating with smartphones and other devices running Android, Linux, iOS, or Windows. As with most smartwatches, notifications are available for phone calls, email, SMS, and SNS, and you can control music on the synced device.
Final Fidelys design (left) and prototype (right)
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A Near Field Communication (NFC) radio enables authenticated contactless payments. In addition to heartrate and magnetic sensors, there’s also a pedometer and Qi wireless charging support.
The Fidelys stands out with its round clock face, somewhat like the Android Wear-based Moto 360, as well as its bezel interface. Instead of using touch input, speech, or buttons, it provides a rotating bezel around the round clock face, with each position associated with an onscreen icon. Only the bottom of the display where the camera is located is separate from the user interface.
Fidelys bezel controls
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It takes less than two seconds for the tiny camera embedded in the Fidelys display to verify one’s identity. The authentication stays live as long as you’re wearing the watch, thanks to the heartbeat sensors in the watchband buckle. Remove the watch and you’ll need to scan your iris again.
Fidelys CMOS camera with IR LED on left
An infrared capability enables iris detection in the dark, and the device can be modified to detect irises through clear glasses. The Fidelys recognition capability can capture the iris image in various environments, including under direct sunlight, says IriTech.
The Fidelys uses the same IriTech iris recognition algorithm found in its IriShield cameras. The algorithm is top ranked in the U.S. government’s NIST test for its accuracy, and is used by institutions such as the U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin, and the Indian Government, says the company. The algorithm has an FAR (false accept rate) of 1e-6 (0.0001 percent), with an FRR (false rejection rate) of less than 0.2 percent, claims IriTech.
Live eyeballs only, thank you
The company claims the captured iris image will never leave the Fidelys watch. Instead, a key is generated and sent to the owner’s phone, laptop, PC, or gateway, giving access to applications being requested. The technology is designed to differentiate between “live irises” and images. In a gruesome turn, the company asserts that “High quality images, videos, or non-live irises will not be recognized.”
The prices include free IriTech-developed apps for the Fidelys for the first two years. The Indiegogo page says you can “Create your own app with our API and SDK!” Yet, the IriTech rep told us that “To increase the system security, we will not allow native application from third-parties.” The rep added: “However, we might enable native application for some of our partners.”
Fidelys demo on YouTube
“Our expertise of embedding our strong algorithm in a compact form-factor at a competitive price is a perfect fit for smartwatches, which will be the center of wearables and IoT,” stated Jungwoon Ryu, IriTech’s Head of Business Development.
IriTech’s Fidelys is available for Indiegogo funding through mid August, starting at $199, with shipments due in May 2015. Pre-release development packages that start at $1,000 ship in March. The commercial Fidelys is due in July 2015, selling for $250. More information may be found at the Fidelys Indiegogo page, with much of this duplicated on IriTech’s Fidelys product page. Note: the Fidelys Indiegogo campaign is categorized as “flexible,” meaning that “the campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal.”