Book-1 Chapter 7: Come Together – Biometric Bank Card

Julie and the other students present their plan for a biometric W.U. card to Dr. K. 

They chuckled at him. Dr. K looked around at them and asked,
“Am I missing something here?”

“No, not really. If we were just going to meet Professor Watson’s
basic design specs for the project—that would be fine. We’d have
cobbled together something using a thumb print scanner. It would be
fast and easy. But not very useful beyond this one little project. Let
Ronnie show you what he has…”

Dr. K leaned back in his chair, “Okay, go ahead.”

Ronnie went back to the diagram. He now drew two intersecting
circles, one blue the other in yellow, at the center of the rectangle. “So
these circles represent the two membranes, built into the card. Along
the edge on the back…,”he drew a second rectangle beside the first.
He then hatched in a stripe, with black lines, along the top edge,
before continuing. “…there is a colored stripe, where you find a
magnetic strip on a credit card. That tells the user how to face the card
when they swipe it—just like they do with a credit or ATM card.

Now, let’s go back to the other side and the two membranes.
Initially the card is blank. You could swipe the card through a reader
all day and get nothing, zip, nada. But when the user first picks up the
card they will feel a slight bulge right in the middle.” He pointed to
the section of the first rectangle that was the intersection of the two
circles. “Before the card can be used they squeeze it right there…,” he
started to color in the section with a green marker,”…and hold it for a
few seconds. That gets these two pouches to mix and set. Now when
that user swipes it through any reader —it gets read.”

The other members of the team clapped for Ronnie. Dr. K. sat
silently with his arms folded, still staring at the two rectangles on the
board. They stopped clapping and all turned to him, their faces
sporting grins from ear to ear.

“Are you telling me… that this card makes like an impression of
the users finger prints?,” Dr. K asked.

“Close but no cigar, Doc,” said Jonathan with a smile. “Go ahead
Ronnie, tell him.”

Ronnie pointed back at the green patch. “What really happens is
they just made a printed circuit, one that is completed when they and
ONLY they, hold the card in their hand. The stripe, on the back, gets
the number information sent to it only when held by the same person
who squeezed the blister packs the first time. In fact you can only
squeeze them once.”

“This will work with the merchant card readers out today?”

“Yup!,” answered Ronnie.

“What about counterfeits?”

“Every card has a randomly shaped hatching or grid pattern, like
a fine net, inserted as part of the sandwich construction of the blank
card during manufacture. It has millions of possible combinations. It
forms the other piece of the ‘key’, so to speak, with your fingers to
unlock the card’s information. There is no way you can steal a card
and take it apart and learn anything. No finger print, no name or
numbers, NADA!”

Dr. K rose from his chair and slowly went over to Ronnie. “I just
gotta shake your hand again my good man. This is outstanding! Just
outstanding! You have to patent this.”

“See, I told you guys!,” said Julie as she banged her fist down on
the table, the others laughed. “I told you, I told you!”

“Ronnie, I’m dead serious”, he said. He turned to Jonathan,

“Have you shown this to anyone else?”

“No, not yet.”

Dr. K looked over to Julie and motioned with his hand as he
spoke, “Julie close the door.” He paced in front of the board waiting
for it to be closed before he continued. “This could change everything,
absolutely everything about Work Unit accounting. By making use of
existing readers in retailers everywhere—I mean the whole world
uses those things—you’ve removed the biggest argument against WU,
the initial transition costs. But with this… no costs!”

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