Types of biometrics

Biometric Fingerprint

Fingerprint recognition technology is widely accepted because it is fast, non-intrusive and reliable. A quality sensor enhances speed and accuracy while a good software recognition algorithm will minimise false rejection.

Fingerprints are unique for each finger of a person including identical twins. One of the most common biometric technologies, fingerprint recognition devices for desktop and laptop access are widely available at a low cost. With these devices, users no longer need to type passwords - instead, only a touch provides instant access.

Because fingerprint is so common, many criminals have attempted to cheat the system and modern terminals have built-in technology to thwart fraud and allow recognition even under difficult environmental conditions. Vein scan biometric technology works with fingerprint scanners to ensure that a prosthetic finger is not used. The technology uses near-infrared light to detect vein vessel patterns.

Biometric Hand Geometry

Identification using hand geometry is fast, non-intrusive and accurate across a wide range of working conditions and skin colours. Hand geometry uses the geometric dimensions of the hand and therefore a dirty or oil-stained hand will have no effect on the accuracy of readings. The base plate uses silver nano-technology which has anti-microbial properties for hygiene, making them suitable in hospitals and schools.

Hand recognition is a proven biometric characteristic and has been available for over twenty-five years. To achieve personal authentication, a system may measure either physical characteristics of the fingers or the hands. These include length, width, thickness and surface area of the hand.

Hand geometry systems use an optical camera to capture up to 90 or more key points on the palm and sides of the hand including finger width, height, and length; distances between joints; and knuckle shapes. Multiple measurements offer reliability and relative ease of use and make this biometric system suitable for large organisations with high volumes.

Hand Geometry is one of the most reliable biometric characteristics because the shape and size of our hands are surprisingly distinctive and remain relatively stable over time. Modern hand geometry terminal are self-adjusting for age, size and texture of hands over time as well as under different environmental conditions.

Hand geometry readers can function in extreme temperatures and are not impacted by dirty hands (as fingerprint sensors can be). Hand geometry devices are able to withstand wide changes in temperature and function in a dusty environment. They are commonly used for access control to facilities and time & Attendance.

Hand geometry readers are larger than fingerprint readers and are used primarily for physical access control and recording work time and attendance.

Biometric Facial Geometry

The identification of a person by their facial image can be done in a number of different ways such as by capturing an image of the face in the visible spectrum using an inexpensive camera or by using the infrared patterns of facial heat emission.

Facial recognition typically model key features from the central portion of a facial image. Using a wide assortment of cameras, the visible light systems extract features from the captured image(s) that do not change over time while avoiding superficial features such as facial expressions or hair.

Some of the challenges of facial recognition in the visual spectrum include reducing the impact of variable lighting and detecting a mask or photograph. Face recognition systems enrol each individual based on several photographs of the face from different angles.

The template is created from measurements between key facial features that do not change significantly over time:

  • Distance between the upper sections of eye sockets and sides of mouth
  • Distance between eyes
  • The length of the nose
  • The angle of the chin

Face recognition is a fairly young technology compared with other biometrics. Major benefits of facial recognition are that it is non-intrusive, hands-free and accepted by most users. It is particularly suitable where hygiene is important, or where religious and cultural traditions make touching offensive.