FINGERPRINT MATCHING Fingerprints
can be examined for external characteristics, specifically the friction ridge patterns unique to every
individual. Ultrasound scanning can also capture
the internal or vascular fingerprint reflected in the
capillaries. A step beyond fingerprints is a palm
print, which looks for variations in principle lines
and other marks. The FBI recently upgraded its
Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification
System (IAFIS) to include palms – over 6 million
palm prints have been collected so far.
HAND GEOMETRY Beyond a mere finger,
your entire hand offers distinctive identifiers. According to the National Science and Technology
Council, hand geometry readers “use a simple
concept of measuring and recording the length,
width, thickness and surface area of an individual’s hand while guided on a plate.” Some scanners
are able to measure the distance between the
knuckles to the fingerprints, curvature of the
digits and even shadow cast.
IRIS RECOGNITION Whether you inherited your eye color from one of your parents is
irrelevant – the shapes and patterns surrounding
your iris are 100% original to you. Near-infrared
light is used to illuminate the iris to reveal additional variations that aren’t visible in plain sight.
A related but entirely separate ocular approach
is retina scanning, which examines the capillaries within the eye. Both options can read the eye
even if glasses or normal contacts are present.
EAR IDENTIFICATION Were you aware
that your ears are just as singular as your fingerprints? The morphology of our outer cartilage
is relatively static over time and is comprised
of nine separate anatomy points. Even our own
ears are not a match for each other, nor are they
perfect replicas among twins and other multiples.
This metric is limited to forensic use at this time,
but it has the potential to crossover to commercial applications once barriers such as profile
angles, lighting and obfuscations with hair are
FACIAL RECOGNITION This technology
measures distances between specific parts of
a person’s face – the sum of the various points
being an exclusive attribute. An algorithm can
identify the nuances between the shape and
position of the eyes, nose, ears, jawline and other
contours. The metrics are sophisticated enough
that basic changes to a person’s appearance such
as makeup, hairstyles or reading glasses do not
typically interfere with a match.
VEIN MATCHING The network of veins just
below the surface of your skin exhibits unique
variations and can be detected with infrared light.
Unlike external markers, your veins stay in the
same place as you age and it would be exceedingly rare for them to become damaged. This
contactless option currently has applications for
time and attendance, patient identification, and
logging onto computers and servers. It is even
used to register for the GMAT (a business graduate school exam) to “preserve test integrity.”
Any part of the human body that is unique to an individual can be turned into a biometric credential. You may not be aware
just how many forms of biometrics are available. There are two
classes of biometrics – those that are tied to the shape of physical
characteristics that can be measured (see below) and behavioral
traits that are based on a person’s actions (page 36). See which
options would be suitable for your population.
BIOMETRICS AT A GLANCE