The prototype for a new biometric identification app has been developed by the Defense Digital Service (DDS) in a collaboration with soldiers from the United States Army that aims to help service members tell the difference between friends and enemies on the battlefield.
The app, called the Basic Optical Biometric Analysis (BOBA), operates in the cloud and is able to run on mobile devices like smartphones. BOBA uses a combination of biometric facial, fingerprint, and iris recognition to enroll users into the system, allowing them to identity one another in the field in a matter of seconds.
“Through numerous technical discoveries and user research, our team identified data silos and antiquated, unusable tools that were not field-tested to help our troops identify persons in the field rapidly and efficiently, leaving our soldiers at risk of attack,” said DDS Director Brett Goldstein in comments to FedScoop. “We know BOBA can literally save the lives of our troops.”
A division of the Department of Defense (DoD), the DDIS — which refers to itself as “a SWAT team of nerds established by the Secretary of Defense to provide the best in modern technology to bolster national defense” — worked with soldiers from the Army Cyber School, at Fort Gordon in Georgia, who were the designers and engineers behind the app.
“This technology was also built by Soldiers, with engineering talent from the Army Cyber School. We are not only proud of the product, but the process as well,” said Goldstein.
According to Army Col. Senodja Sundiata-Walker, project manager for the Department of Defense Biometrics, the tech behind BOBA will be transitioned into the DoD’s office.
“BOBA was developed and tested with user-friendly features to improve the way we support biometric enrollment,” said Sundiata-Walker. “Currently, we are in the early stages of leveraging BOBA’s technology, portability, and cloud-based architecture, and plan to extend its applicability in support of the National Defense Strategy spectrum.”
This is just the latest example of a branch of the U.S. military exploring the use of biometrics both in the field and organizationally. In January, an RFI was submitted to help the Army develop tech that would enable soldiers to ‘see through walls’, and earlier this month the Navy announced it was looking to use biometric wearables to help its personnel enforce social distancing guidelines in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
July 27, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis