It’s billed as “the most powerful tool ever developed for biometric identification,” and it could well be. L-1 Identity Solutions’ HIIDE is a rugged, portable device that can establish and then verify peoples’ identities using three separate biometrics - iris, fingerprint and facial recognition. It must be pretty impressive, as the US Department of Defense recently ordered ten million dollars worth of the suckers.

HIIDE is an acronym for Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment. The device is embedded with Microsoft XP and can operate either in the field or hooked up to a PC. You can also customize it by adding peripherals such as a passport reader, a keyboard or a mouse. Once up and running, it can store up to 22,000 full biometric profiles, each one including two iris templates, ten fingerprints, a facial image and biographical data.

To use the device, you simply take a photo of the subject’s iris with the 640 X 480 camera, get their fingerprints with the built-in 500dpi sensor, then snap a picture of their face. If you’re using it for verification, the HIIDE will next check through its 256 MB onboard database, or it can wirelessly search through a number of worldwide databases. It will let you know when a match is found, or if one isn’t.

There are currently over 65,000 L-1 HIIDEs in use around the world, many of those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

All images courtesy Whipsaw, Inc., designers of the HIIDE.