Biometrics identifies unique physical criteria to verify personal identities. Small differences usually undetectable to the human eye, like retinal and iris patterns, finger and palm prints, and DNA is collected and stored by biometric technology to match people’s identity. By combining biometrics recognition systems and security technology, manufacturers have invented a futuristic way of securing one’s personal belongings - their body is the only way that it can be accessed. There’s a number of novel biometric scanning methods; in this blog entry I’ll detail them.
This technology identifies users by the structure of their face. This method doesn’t require any physical contact between the user and the scanning device - cameras simply scan the user’s face and run it through a database of information to verify if they are the proper user. This technology doesn’t usually require expensive hardware, however it provides less security than other biometric methods. It collects measurements of a face’s structure, proportion, and shape, taking factors like jaw, ears, eye size and distance, nose, and facial expressions such as laughing or smiling to determine a specific identity. As a user ages and their face changes, they will need to update their profile information. This is one of the disadvantages of facial recognition,
The iris is a thin circular part of the eye that monitors the size of one’s pupils for purposes of protecting the eye’s retina from light. Iris color varies based on genetic information, from individual to individual. Irises have unique patterns and colors for every person - and iris scanning technology can analyze over 200 areas of the iris, saving the information in a database to compare it against other information in the future. This biometric system is incredibly accurate, expensive, and requires proper installation. However it always works - and can work even if the user has contact lenses or glasses.
There’s two criteria that render one’s voice unique - a behavioral factor known as accent, and a physiological factor of voice tract. The combination of both these factors make it virtually impossible for one to completely imitate someone else’s voice accurately. Biometric vocal recognition technology analyzes vocal tract by asking users to repeat a passphrase or group of numbers into a microphone so that the system can analyze their voice. It is relatively easy to install without the need for expensive hardware. However, it is somewhat vulnerable as unapproved users can record the voice of the verified user and use it to gain control to the system. This method of entry has been protected against by newer voice recognition systems, by utilizing a fail safe which asks users to repeat randomly generated phrases.
Fingerprints are composed of a unique pattern of convex ridges and concave valleys on the surface of the human finger - completely unique for every individual. The ridges are collected in two points- bifurcations, where they split, and endings, where they, well, end. By analyzing the patterns of valleys, ridges, and minutiae points, ultrasound and visual technology can verify the identification of users. This is known as pattern matching which compares all the finger’s surfaces at one time. Minutiae matching compares highlighted specific areas of the fingerprint. This system is easy to use, relatively cheap, and has been widely used by law enforcement for generations. This technology is widely used by consumers, and is integrated with cell phones, laptops, flash drives, or other access systems. The only drawback is that if the fingerprint is damaged by a cut or scar, the machine will not be able to read it.
This technology is relatively new - it identifies the unique system of veins in user’s hands that carry blood to their heart. Every human has veins with unique physical characteristics - vein recognition biotechnology captures an image of the unique vein patterns inside a user’s fingers with infrared light. This system has a higher level of reliability and accuracy than any of the older methods of biometric scanning - and, luckily, is somewhat less expensive than other methods. As an added bonus, the scanning process takes less time than in other methods as well.
DNA Biometric Scanning
Every individual carries their own completely unique DNA. It’s impossible to fake or camouflage one’s own DNA - you simply have your own, a combination of that of your parents. Every cell in the human body has a readable copy of this DNA - and biometric scanning systems can verify one’s DNA by collecting it from a few samples - usually blood, saliva, semen, hair, or tissue. The samples are broken down into small samples into a code known as VNTR (variable number tandem repeat) which repeats at specific intervals - this code essentially makes up the unique DNA profile of an individual. Each DNA fragment is measured, sorted, and captured. This equipment is incredibly expensive and complicated (it’s relatively new) and thus is only used in the most advanced industrial/governmental settings.
Although relatively new, biometrics technology is quickly gaining a reputation for being one of the best methods of verifying user information for security purposes. It’s being increasingly utilized in consumer settings - as well as by airports, law enforcement, hospitals, militaries, and governments. It eliminates the risk of copied ID cards being used by unscrupulous individuals to gain illegal access to property or data, and reduces the risk of identify theft, which is a growing issue in our culture. As biometrics technology becomes more widely used, it will greatly reduce the amount of thefts in professional, governmental, commercial, and civilian properties.