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Kansas City’s EyeVerify picks up mobile phone deal

ZTE Mobile Devices has introduced a new smartphone that will use the EyeVerify biometric screening system instead of traditional passwords to unlock the device.

EyeVerify, a startup company based in Kansas City, created a technology that authenticates users by making pattern matches with the blood vessels in the whites of the eye.

ZTE, based in Shenzhen, China, announced the deal Sunday in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress 2015.

EyeVerify chief executive Toby Rush said the technology also is being used in another not-yet-publicized smartphone, the Alcatel OneTouch.

“There’s been excellent response at the show,” Rush said Monday morning in a phone interview from Barcelona. “Other phone companies are very interested.”

Rush said financial terms of the smartphone deals are confidential.

The ZTE announcement said its Grand S3 model is one of the first smartphones in the world to use EyeVerify’s Eyeprint ID’s password-replacement technology.

The EyeVerify system uses a front-facing camera on the smartphone to quickly scan the user’s eye and confirm the match without the user having to enter a password or do anythin else.

Prior to announcing the smartphone applications, EyeVerify began commercial applications for mobile banking with Well Fargo.

The Grand S3 was launched in China in January. The new Eyeprint ID version is being sold online in China, but ZTE said a wider rollout is planned.

EyeVerify, which has won a series of entrepreneurship honors and angel investments, was founded based on technology developed by a team headed by Reza Derakhshani, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

It holds 10 patents on the blood-vessel scanning technology, an identification system that is different from iris-scanning technology that is used in many other applications.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to stafford@kcstar.com. Follow her online at kansascity.com/workplace and @kcstarstafford.

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