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WORLD'S FIRST COMMERCIAL APPLICATION OF NEURAL NETWORK CHIP READS CHECKS LIKE THE HUMAN EYE

 WORLD'S FIRST COMMERCIAL APPLICATION OF NEURAL NETWORK CHIP
 READS CHECKS LIKE THE HUMAN EYE
 SAN JOSE, Calif., June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- VeriFone Inc. (NASDAQ: VFIC), a leading supplier of Transaction Automation systems and solutions worldwide, today announced a new product that harnesses futuristic technology to help retailers and banks combat the rising costs of doing business with checks. The new device, called the Gemstone(R) Onyx(TM) check reader, is the first commercial application of neural network chip technology developed by Synaptics Inc. of San Jose. "Neural nets" mimic the way the human brain processes information.
 Heralded as the technology that could revolutionize the computer industry in the same way that the original microprocessor did, the first application of neural network chip technology is one of the computer industry's most eagerly awaited breakthroughs.
 A member of VeriFone's Gemstone family of Transaction SuperSystems(TM), the Onyx check reader is the first retail point-of- sale (POS) device that can read virtually any check, even those that are wrinkled, folded or written over with pen marks. An Electronic Eye and Brain
 Onyx uses an integrated electronic "retina" and electronic "neurons" to instantly recognize the MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) characters printed on the bottom of checks, even if the MICR print quality is poor. Variations in the standard MICR line printing and orientation -- which are extremely common -- typically cause reading errors in existing readers, reducing their accuracy to as low as 80 percent.
 "This is a perfect example of harnessing advanced technology to solve a very real-world problem," said Ashok Narasimhan, vice president and general manager of VeriFone's SuperSystems Division. "We've tested checks from more than 450 different banks, savings and loans, and credit unions all across the country. All of these checks were in different sizes and conditions, and had a wide variation in the placement and quality of the printing. Because of its ability to recognize every check with near-perfect accuracy, we expect Onyx to obsolesce motorized check readers."
 Narasimhan added that, in recently completed independent laboratory tests conducted by SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute), Onyx achieved a 99.6 percent accuracy rate, significantly higher than other units tested. The tests also demonstrated that new users were competent to operate the Onyx after only a few practice slides of checks through the reader. The Potential of Neural Nets
 "The Onyx neural net chip represents a tiny fraction of what we'll eventually be able to do with neural networks," said Federico Faggin, co-founder and CEO of Synaptics. "But even this first step is dramatic; the chip we have developed jointly with VeriFone, called the I-1000, can recognize characters with far greater accuracy and fewer limitations than has ever been possible with conventional technologies. As neural net technology evolves and becomes more generally available, the applications expand until the imagination becomes the only limit."
 Faggin added that neural network technology can be used to solve many other types of document recognition and processing problems, from handwriting and thumbprint recognition to evaluating money for counterfeit fraud. Key Benefits of Onyx
 -- High Reliability: Onyx's wide tolerance for check slide speed eliminates the need for a motorized transport. As a result, Onyx has no moving parts that can jam or break down. Since there are no heads, there is no need for cleaning cards. The product comes with a one- year warranty, and an extended warranty is available.
 Low Cost of Ownership: Onyx offers
 -- a competitive initial price
 -- attractive warranty coverage
 -- the elimination of the need for cleaning cards
 -- upgradeability through a phone call rather than a service call
 In addition, Onyx provides users with another significant cost-of- ownership advantage. Since it is able to read virtually every check, Onyx can dramatically reduce -- or even eliminate -- the added costs associated with the time and manual labor required to process unreadable checks. According to the Food Marketing Institute, these can average as much as 24 cents per check.
 -- Can Be Placed Anywhere: With some competing readers, interference from nearby electrical or magnetic "noise" causes reading errors or failures, forcing the readers to be placed away from electronic cash registers (ECRs), computers, other card readers, etc. This limitation can place a severe burden on retail stores, where counter space is at a premium. Because it is impervious to interference, the Onyx check reader can be placed directly alongside an ECR, coin changer or computer terminal without consequence.
 -- Can Be Improved Over Time Without Obsolescing the Hardware: Onyx's neural network chip can "learn" to operate even more efficiently in the future. During its development process, the chip was exposed, through computer simulation, to all possible combinations and permutations of MICR characters. As a result, the chip learned to distinguish good data from bad data (scratches, ink marks, etc.). It was also taught to read MICR characters of different densities and in different locations on the checks.
 This same process can be used in the future if Onyx should ever fail to read an MICR character. VeriFone engineers can periodically refine and modify the Onyx recognition software and upgrade the reader through software releases which can be "downloaded" locally or remotely. There is no need to open the unit in order to accomplish this upgrade. Onyx and Transaction Automation Architecture
 Onyx is the latest product developed and introduced under VeriFone's Transaction Automation Architecture (TAA), a framework ensuring that all new products and services are part of complete solutions that are properly matched with customer needs.
 Consistent with TAA, the Onyx check reader provides customers with a solution to a real-world problem -- namely, the need to improve both the speed and accuracy of the check acceptance process. Onyx addresses this need by employing advanced neural network technology. Functionality and Availability
 Onyx is part of the VeriFone Gemstone family of Transaction SuperSystems, which integrate electronic payment processing (credit, debit, cash and checks) and retail automation (price look-up, reporting, tax calculation) at the point of sale. As a peripheral device to a VeriFone SuperSystem, to other VeriFone platforms or to any ECR or personal computer equipped with a serial port, Onyx automatically reads check MICR lines and passes data to the POS system via an RS-232 or PIN Pad connection.
 Onyx will be marketed initially to multi-lane retailers (such as supermarkets and large discount stores), banks, and check processing houses. The product will begin shipping this month. VeriFone Inc.
 VeriFone Inc., based in Redwood City, Calif., is a leading global provider of Transaction Automation solutions used to deliver payment processing and other transaction services to the retail, petroleum, healthcare, government benefits, and vending and food-service markets. The company has more than 30 facilities -- including regional offices, development centers, and manufacturing and distribution centers -- located throughout the United States and in or near Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Paris, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei and Kaohsiung, Taiwan, R.O.C., and Bangalore, India. To date, VeriFone has shipped more than 2.3 million Transaction Automation systems which have been installed in more than 65 countries. The company's 1991 revenues totaled $187.9 million. VeriFone has been named one of America's 100 fastest- growing companies by Fortune and one of the 200 best small companies by Forbes.
 Synaptics Inc., based in San Jose, was founded in 1986 to develop the architectures, hardware technology and design tools for cost- effective applications of intuitive computation. Co-founders Professor Carver Mead and Dr. Federico Faggin are recognized leaders and pioneers in microelectronics and information processing.
 Working in partnership with major suppliers of end-user products, Synaptics applies its technology to solve everyday problems in object and character recognition, vision systems, man-machine interface and adaptive systems. Synaptics develops and manufactures intuitive computation components and modules that use a combination of neural network architectures, adaptive analog VLSI chips and software.
 -0- 6/3/92
 NOTE: VeriFone and Gemstone are registered trademarks of VeriFone Inc. Onyx and Transaction SuperSystems are trademarks of VeriFone Inc. Synaptics and I-1000 are trademarks of Synaptics Inc.
 /CONTACT: Alan Rockhold of VeriFone, 415-696-8823; Steve Bisset of Synaptics, 408-434-0110, ext 112; or Michael Sullivan of Wilson McHenry, 415-592-7600, for VeriFone/
 (VFIC) CO: VeriFone Inc.; Synaptics Inc. ST: California IN: CPR SU: PDT


MM-MC -- SJ001 -- 6474 06/03/92 08:02 EDT
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