How To Understand and Use Biometric Devices

Modern scientific advancements have led to the creation and use of biometrics in a vast number of applications, mainly dealing with human identification. Biometric devices work by using unique human physical or behavioral traits to gain access to a database or control. You may have seen a couple of biometric devices in science fiction movies where the movie star would try to lay a finger on a pad and gain access to the secret room or perhaps a voice activated machine that the villain tries to operate. Biometrics is an amazing technology that will continue to surprise us in the years to come.

There are two main categories of biometrics today. One is Physiological Biometrics that deals with fingerprints, face recognition, DNA, iris recognition, and scent recognition. The other category is Behavioral Biometrics that deals with gait, voice and typing rhythm. Both classifications can be used in any verification or identification purposes like with the use of smart cards, entry access, and identity access management. With today’s increased security breaches and identity theft cases, the need for reliable biometrics devices is becoming evident.

The most common biometrics applications we have today are:

  • Dynamic Signatures
  • Face Recognition
  • Fingerprint Recognition
  • Hand Geometry
  • Iris Recognition
  • Palm Print Recognition
  • Speaker or Voice Recognition
  • And Vascular Pattern Recognition

Dynamic Signature uses a person’s anatomic and behavioral attributes when signing his name for purposes of verification. This type of biometrics considers a person’s hand strokes, pressure, and shape of handwriting as indicators.

Face Recognition is another biometrics technology that makes use of technologies like the Elastic Bunch Graph Matching, Linear Discriminant Analysis, and Principal Component Analysis and has been in development since 1960s.

Finger Print Recognition
can be considered the most widely used among other types due to its ease of application, integrity of acquisition, and its consistent results.

Hand Geometry has been in use in the market since its conception in 1985. In fact this biometrics modality has been used to regulate access during the 1996 Olympics Game. This type uses simple concepts of measuring an individual’s hand in terms of length, width, color, thickness and surface area.

Iris Recognition works by analyzing the person’s iris and this biometrics type is considered one of the youngest of its kind, as it has only been in patent since 1994. Verification is done using the analysis of the iris' muscles, while retinal recognition is done by analyzing the blood vessels of a person’s retina.

Palm Print Recognition
uses the combined elements of hand geometry and finger print biometrics while carefully taking the palm’s ridge flows, structure and characteristics.

Speaker or Voice Recognition is one of the most intricate types of biometrics that uses a person’s unique vocal tract features and his behavioral characteristics. It is to be differentiated from Speech Recognition as the latter is used to analyze articulated words and not the person’s voice.

Vascular Pattern Recognition, also known as Vein Pattern Authentication, uses the light-reflected blood vessels of a person’s hand or finger to verify his or her identity. It’s considered to be the newest of all biometrics technology, as more research and further studies are still being done to make this a viable solution.


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