Gates Cambridge Scholars Toby Norman, Daniel Storisteanu and Alexandra Grigore talk about how they came up with the idea for SimPrints, a fingerprint identification system for applications in global health, microfinance and fighting corruption.
The team, which now includes other Cambridge students and a colleague from the Royal Holloway, have gone on to win several awards and grants, including a $250,000 seed grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Saving Lives at Birth competition and $150,000 from ARM Ltd. They are currently piloting the technology in Bangladesh to assess its ability to improve healthcare for women and their children in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University's Global mHealth Initiative and BRAC, the world's largest NGO. SimPrints is a low-cost, highly accurate mobile fingerprint scanner for low-resource settings which enables a multitude of community health worker programmes to leverage the power of biometric identity to strengthen service delivery in even the most remote parts of the globe. The team see potential for the technology in many other development initiatives, such as in improving drug adherence, micro-finance, and fighting corruption.