Buzz Hill: an innovator in retinal scanning

The schools and community of Longview, Washington have long supported the development of outstanding individuals whose contributions have enriched the city, state, nation, and world.  We would like to take some time to highlight some of these notable individuals and the nurturing community from which they came. These bright spots in the Longview community exemplify the values that the Longview School District aims to instill in all of its students and serve as beacons of integrity, passion, and brilliance. Here, we introduce the next of many notable Longview Luminaries.

Buzz HillIn an age when identity theft and security is a great concern, Mark Morris High School can claim a pioneer in technology that can safeguard information and the security of areas accessible to only certain individuals.

In the 1970’s, Buzz Hill (Robert B. Hill), Mark Morris High School Class of 1964 and son of Dr. Robert V. Hill an ophthalmologist, launched the development of a device that could scan and record the unique pattern of blood vessels in the retina. The device uses a low-power infrared light beamed into the eye that reflects back the pattern in as distinctive of an identification as a fingerprint–but one that is faster to encode and store digitally.

EyeDentify Inc. was established by Buzz to market the scanning device in 1976 and by the late 1980’s the devices were used by the Departments of Energy and Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency and other governmental and private entities including Boeing and American Airlines. The company was bought out by a venture capital firm in 1987 at which time Buzz founded “Minds Eye Laboratories” to create a less expensive version of the device. A 1988 scanner engine version of Buzz’s prototype was recently donated for placement in the school’s display case. Buzz’s brother Ty (Matthew M. Hill Mark Morris Class of 1970) assembled the prototype under Buzz’s direction. Funding restrictions prevented the company from its goal of creating a cheaper version of the original.

Buzz also developed audio editing software which he named after his daughter.

Buzz passed away in March 2017. He is a stellar example of a Longview graduate who was able to see innovative possibilities!

MM staff and friends

Principal Phil Suek accepted the prototype donation on behalf of Mark Morris High School, with Buzz’s sister Judy Hill Ozuna (’66), Buzz’s wife Hyun Hill, and Mark Morris alum Dr. Rich Kirkpatrick (’64).

2018-05-21T15:55:20+00:00 May 21st, 2018|
Translate »