Reducing Inequality Through Biometrics


Around 1 billion people in the world have no formal proof of identity, denying them access to essential services such as education, finance and healthcare.

Typically, women and children are most affected: ninety-nine per cent of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries, in low-resource settings, yet most could have been prevented with a consistent program of care. But with no access to centralised systems, consistent care can be a rare luxury. The maintenance of records can rely on the individual, or on fallible methods that make it difficult to differentiate between two people who share the same name.

This not only has implications for the individual but may also have a negative impact on countrywide initiatives such as vaccination programmes or education planning.

Images © Simprints

Creating Access for All

Using fingerprints as a form of identification, Simprints devised a biometric solution that creates a unique ID for each person. During field testing, however, their focus turned from software to hardware when they were unable to find a fingerprint scanner sensitive enough to cope with the manual scarring and wear common in the developing world.


This lead the team to develop their own robust, ergonomic mobile fingerprint scanner – powered by an Arm Cortex-M processor – that’s dustproof, water resistant and lightweight, with a long battery life. Developed in conjunction with frontline workers, the scanner is compatible with the many mobile data gathering platforms used by healthcare workers, governments, and global development practitioners

… Even in an Uncertain World

In response to COVID-19, Simprints accelerated development of its contactless method of identification which enables accurate enrolment and identification of patients from a safe distance. This facilitates high-quality data collection on the number of new and suspected cases and can be rapidly deployed and scaled on low-cost Android devices.

Arm has supported Simprints since 2012.

“Our goal has always been to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable citizens and, as we begin to transition Simprints to large-scale deployments with partners like the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, and BRAC, that goal is starting to become a reality.”

Alexandra Grigore, co-founder of Simprints and Chief Product Officer

Simprints’ solution also supports the following Goals:


No Poverty Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education Gender Equality Decent Work and Economic Growth Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions Partnerships for the Goals