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[FEATURED NEWS] Project eXtramural: Automated biometrics collection

The envisaged Biometrics Self-Enrolment Kiosks will reduce users’ waiting time and shorten the biometrics enrolment time required for Singapore residents and pass holders.

TrialFlow_v4_Moment3.1Project eXtramural Prototype (Photo: HTX)

Project eXtramural is a joint innovation project between HTX and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to develop a Biometrics Self-Enrolment Kiosk where members of the public may enroll their rolled fingerprints, faces, and irises via self-help touchpoints.

Today, at the ICA Visitors Services Centre, officers spend almost 14,000 man-hours each year on this task. With the envisaged Biometrics Self-Enrolment Kiosk, the automation of the biometrics enrolment process means that it is possible for one officer to oversee a group of kiosks and provide assistance only when users encounter difficulties.

For ICA, the Biometrics Self-Enrolment Kiosk is part of the Services Centre Next Generation initiative which aims to reinvent service delivery through ICA’s 2025 vision of ‘No Fuss, No Visit, No Waiting’. The envisaged Biometrics Self-Enrolment Kiosks will reduce users’ waiting time and shorten the biometrics enrolment time required for Singapore residents and pass holders.

As there was no commercially available integrated solution for self-enrolment of multimodal biometrics – in particular, rolled fingerprints – the Project eXtramural team had to select and customise the placement of biometric scanners in the kiosk prototype and design the automated guidance process to facilitate self-enrolment without officer’s assistance.

The kiosk prototype was also designed to facilitate rapid changes to the scanners’ placement, and the customised in-house self-enrolment process was trialled using a phased approach. ICA officers gave their feedback from the enrolment officers’ perspective during the internal testing phase while members of the public provided feedback in terms of their user experience.

The feedback gained from each trial led to innovative upgrades for the prototype. For example, the original flat fingerprint scanner was replaced with one mounted on a slanted plate to improve the process of rolling the finger. Other issues were also identified, which spurred the development of in-house AI solutions – for example, to identify and warn users about problems such as smudges on the fingerprint scanners, improperly positioned fingers, and the need to remove face masks before facial capture.

eXtramural TeamProject eXtramural Team (Photo: HTX)

The Project eXtramural team foresees that the Biometrics Self-Enrolment Kiosk can be adopted for other security services that use biometrics, such as onboarding processes at high-security facilities. The types of biometrics enrolled using the kiosk can be further customised to meet the unique requirements of each organisation. For the public, the possibility of decentralised government services island-wide facilitated by the deployment of these kiosks will improve convenience and enhance service delivery.

The Biometrics Self-Enrolment Kiosk project won the Gold award at the 2022 Home Team Innovation (InnovA) Awards. The team is led by Melvin Low, Deputy Director (Biometrics), Biometrics & Profiling Centre of Expertise, and includes the following HTX officers: Wong Weiyang, Yip Ai Kia, Chua Jeun Kee, Cassie Ong, and Ng Zhen Hao. The team also includes the following officers from ICA: Tan Kia Ting, Said Mubaruk Sultan Athaham, Julian Loke, Ang Li Fang, Nurzie Elisa Selamat, Affendi Bin Kamaruddin, Nur Amira Izzaty Binti Silmi, Lim Jie Sheng Jason, and Lee Xin Yuan.