Common Biometric Technologies

Biometric technology is used to identify individuals around the world. There are numerous technologies that make up the field of biometrics. Iris Scanning, Facial Recognition, Hand Geometry, and Voice Recognition are four of the most commonly used systems to identify individuals using biometric technology. While there are various others, these are more well-known and established. Here is a simple breakdown of how the technologies work:

Iris Scanning: Iris scanning is one of the most frequently used methods of biometric identification. An iris scan system checks each iris of the individual’s eyes with a small camera. Small, unique details in the structural (stromal) pattern of the iris (around 400 and counting) brand an individual’s identity.

Both the right and left eyes differ from one another in composition and unique details. An iris scan is simple and usually entails an individual standing a few inches away from a system such as a scanner that reads the iris information, analyzes the unique details, and identifies the person.

Facial Recognition: Facial Recognition is gaining popularity, though there are still bugs to be worked out. Facial Recognition relies on pattern recognition for identification. A sensor gathers the information about your face; your eyes, your nose, their size and shape, pigmentation, etc.

Then a mechanism that extracts the data and ‘description’ of your features computes the information and analyzes it. When you go to get your face scanned, the system identifies your features and matches them with your facial pattern. Currently it is difficult to get a clear image when a person is moving or in the far distance, though these concerns will likely be put to rest in the near future.

Hand Geometry: One of the more cost-effective forms of biometrics, hand geometry devices, or ‘hand scanners,’ have remained popular since they were manufactured in the early 1980’s.

This form of biometrics identifies users by the shape of their hands. The hand scanners read the shape, length, and other features of the hand and input the information into a database. When you scan your hand, just as in facial recognition, the system matches your handprint to your identity. Not considered as effective as other types of biometric technology, they are considered most reliable when used in conjunction with an ID Card.

Voice Recognition: Voice Recognition is another tool used in biometric analysis, and the process is nearly the same as scanning, except that you record your voice, its intonations, annunciations and unique patterns.

They are then input into a system that analyzes these patterns and brings them up when you speak. While voices may not sound that different, each person’s vocal patterns are unique enough to identify them through voice recognition.

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