Viisage to buy iris-recognition company

Viisage, a major biometrics company based in Massachusetts, will buy SecuriMetrics, a maker of iris-recognition technology, for $28 million by the end of February.

On its Web site, the California-based SecuriMetrics, which makes handheld iris-recognition products, lists the Defense Department, law enforcement agencies, public and private correctional facilities, and other government agencies as customers.

One of the company’s devices called the Portable Iris Enrollment and Recognition device can store as many as 200,000 individual iris images, according to a press release. Nearly 2,000 of those devices are in use at U.S. detention centers in Iraq and Afghanistan and other areas of conflict, the release states.

Company officials are also completing tests on a product called Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment, which it claims is “the first and only portable, multimodal device in the world that will be capable of collection and identification of subjects using iris, finger and face recognitions,” according to the release.

The announcement today comes nearly a month after Viisage and Identix, based in Minnesota, agreed to merge, becoming one of the largest companies in the biometrics market.

“Iris-based recognition technologies are poised for growth as a highly accurate and mobile option for biometric identification,” said Robert LaPenta, chairman of Viisage’s board of directors, in a written statement. Under the Viisage-Identix merger, he will become the new company’s chairman and chief executive officer.

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