Ahead in the embedded race: Interview with Senior Project Manager, Lena Strutz


“Our fingerprint algorithms have the ability to deliver fast and secure matching on limited platforms in combination with small sensors. This has made it possible for us to meet our customers’ demands on authentication for embedded products”, says Senior Project Manager Lena Strutz. She is the experienced and tech-savvy “human interface” between customers’ high expectations and Precise Biometrics research and development team.

Small, lean and fast is the name of the game in the embedded market. Whether it is a payment solution, a car lock, a wearable or any other consumer product which belongs to the growing category Internet of Things, fingerprint authentication must perform rapidly and securely in a very constrained environment.

Lena Strutz calls herself “the customer’s voice” in Precise Biometrics research and development team for the embedded market. The team have switched up a gear in the optimization of the company’s industry leading algorithm solution Precise BioMatch™ Embedded to meet growing demands. Lena’s job is to funnel the customers’ tough demands into the further development of Precise Biometrics’ algorithm solution.

“Our algorithms have to be able to perform a fast and secure matching, even though the sensor becomes smaller and the microcontroller unit (MCU) in terms of memory and clock frequency is very constricted. An average smartphone has, in comparison, at least 10 000 times more memory and a processor that runs at least ten times faster”, says Lena.

Extensive expertise in embedded solutions
There is no coincidence that Precise BioMatch Embedded has attracted a great deal of interest from the part of consumer product manufacturers, service providers and sensor vendors, and Lena is currently involved in several interesting projects.

“We have taken giant steps to optimize our fingerprint algorithm solution to push its ability to perform under extreme constraints and meet the demands of new products, such as payment cards and wearables”, says Lena Strutz, who has enjoyed working at Precise Biometrics since 2005. She is no stranger to the tough performance demands on embedded systems. Lena has in fact worked with embedded solutions since 1999.  For several years, she was a team leader for the development of a proximity fuse for a target seeking light anti-armour weapon at the world-renowned Swedish weapons manufacturer Saab Dynamics.

“We developed an embedded system with both optic and magnetic sensors. It made sure that the missile system would be able to correctly detect and target moving objects”, says Lena. Her experience came in handy when she joined the seasoned team that developed Precise BioMatch Embedded.

Secure Elements opens payment market
One big milestone was the shipment, about a year ago, of the first version of the algorithm solution for a Secure Element-chip supporting smaller sensors to the security company Oberthur Technologies. Secure Elements enables convenient and secure fingerprint identification for connection, authentication and payments in any type of devices. It offers the market’s most secure environment for the algorithms to run on. But it is an extremely small environment; In fact, several times smaller than a microcontroller unit.

Lena predicts a wide variety of applications for embedded solutions. But the biggest potential in terms of volumes is in payment solutions. “One very interesting area is contactless payments, where you don’t have to insert your smart card into a terminal. It’s a technical challenge to be able to provide convenient and secure contactless authentication. But we are up for it”, says Lena.