Michael Recce, (above, right) associate professor of information systems, is applying biometrics -- the science of using biological properties to identify individuals -- to a variety of security and safety problems. His first application, the Dynamic Grip Recognition System, was developed to use in a "smart gun" that will recognize, instantly and reliably, one or more preprogrammed authorized users. Working in collaboration with Timothy Chang, .professor of electrical engineering, Recce expects a commercially viable prototype by January 2006. Read a press release about the smart gun project.

Recce has also proposed to adapt his hand grip technology for use by airplane pilots. Since operation of modern aircraft frequently shifts between the pilot and ground controllers, Recce reasoned that the installation of his grip sensors in the cockpit controls could be achieved with relative ease because only the authenticated grips of the pilot or copilot could be programmed to operate the plane. When the pilot releases his or her grip, control of the plane would revert to the ground.

Most recently, he teamed with Marilyn Tremaine, (above, left) professor and chair of information systems, and doctoral student Benjamin Ngugi, to study the application of biometric techniques to identity fraud. The researchers believe that keystroke dynamics offers a potential solution. Previous research has demonstrated that each user of a keyboard produces a completely unique pattern, in terms of keystroke duration, finger placement, applied pressure on keys, and other factors.