Fingerprints are the most commonly used biometric indicator, and utilized in places as diverse as the local police station, the nearest hospital, and the mobile phone in your pocket.
Current technologies capture fingerprints in several different ways. The most common method is through optical scaning, which use prisms to measure the distance between the tiny ridges and valleys which form a fingerprint image.
Another method uses thin film transistor (TFT) technology, which employs a small electrical current to measure those same ridges and valleys.
A third method uses sound waves to capture fingerprints below the surface of the skin.
Fingerprint scanners digitize these images into unique digital templates which can then be used to match against existing records.
Advantages of fingerprints as a biometric:
- A mature technology that is widely used and familiar to the public
- Quick and easy capture of images
- Latent fingerprints at crime scenes can be recorded after the subject is no longer present – one of the few biometrics where this is possible
- Significant range of products to choose from at all levels of quality and price
- Large database holdings increase the possibility of matches
- Standardized template formats allow for interoperability between systems
- Typical automated match rates are higher than 98%
- Law enforcement
- Border management and travel security
- Health Care
- Human Resources
- Physical Access
- Defense and Counter-Terrorism