The Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP) puts the aid of NASA technology within reach of small businesses to assist with technical challenges in the workplace. In the case of Smart Biometrics, the company needed assistance to help enhance the company’s new product, a safe that uses finger identification for achieving access.

Located in Sanford, FL, Smart Biometrics is engaged in the development of biometric technology, applicable in various forms to positively identify authorized persons and to reject all others. Smart Biometrics’ devices are utilized in markets that require high security governmental and industrial access, remote credit approval, weapons safes, ATM’s, electronic commerce and auto and home security.

One of the devices developed by Smart Biometrics is the Bio-Vault, a safe for firearms and valuables that uses biometric technology, in the form of a recognized fingerprint, to open the safe. However, before the Bio-Vault could be nationally marketed, Don Brown, product design engineer with Smart Biometrics,
wanted to resolve one of the challenges he was facing with the product –
power consumption.

At that time, the shelf life of the Bio-Vault’s batteries was one year without use, or 6 months if opened up to 500 times. The Smart Biometrics team began researching and testing various batteries without success. Brown then heard about SATOP at a seminar presented by the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission.

Through SATOP, Brown and Smart Biometrics could receive free assistance from a university or company within the aerospace and engineering industries to help solve the power consumption challenge. He wasted no time contacting the SATOP Center in Florida who paired him with one of the program’s Platinum-level Space Alliance Partners, The Boeing Company.

“We work with a number of batteries at the Space Center, however, these are not practical for portable applications, so we went to work researching commercial applications for Smart Biometrics,” said Dan Tambert, Senior Manager of Electrical and Avionics Engineering with The
Boeing Company.

Tambert was assigned Smart Biometrics’ Request for Technical Assistance (RTA) and conducted research into various types of batteries that would perform better by giving the Bio-Vault a longer shelf life. Tambert was able to provide Brown with a comparative analysis on different types of batteries and their characteristics.

“By taking this process off of our plates, SATOP gave my staff more time to work on other operations for which we have expertise,” said Brown. “SATOP gave us the information we needed to keep energy consumption low and battery life longer for the Bio-Vault.”

Smart Biometrics was able to apply the SATOP solution to provide a better
power source for the Bio-Vault safe. The enhancement will help ready the product for marketing efforts. Brown says the Bio-Vault will be available through the Internet and national distributors, eventually expanding internationally. Now that the Bio-Vault has longer lasting batteries, consumers have an added benefit to the unique product – thanks to SATOP.

“SATOP is always pleased to know that a solution provided through the program helped a small business better its product,” said Paul Secor, Director of SATOP. “Businesses can now forge ahead in today’s market to be more successful
than ever.”
Success stories, such as Smart Biometrics, help prove that the U.S. Space Program is benefiting small businesses in all kinds of ways. Certainly, Don Brown found a solution to Smart Biometrics’ challenge – right at his fingertips!