Introduction to Biometrics

The human is a being that lives in society, that is, not born to be alone. On a day-to-day we depend on each other for any situation. The problem is that we’re not born programmed to limit ourselves only to our jobs, the the same way that we’re not born to accept the world the way he is. In the background, each person prioritizes their own interests and some do not hesitate to harm others to achieve your goals. Soon, the human is not to be trusted. Thus, there was a time that if makes necessary the use of mechanisms to to restrict access to certain places or services, for example. As nothing is 100% efficient, the search for a solution perfect, it is continuous. One of the ideas the most promising that has emerged is the use of the Biometrics, a concept that explained the following.

What is Biometrics

In a nutshell, Biometrics (Greek Bios = life, metron = measure) is the use of biological characteristics in the mechanisms id. Among these characteristics has- the iris (part  color  of the eye), the retina (the inner membrane of the the eyeball), the fingerprint, the voice, the shape of the face and the geometry of the hand. There are still some features physical that may be used in the future, such as DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Thecid), and odors of the body.

The use of biological characteristics for identification if it shows as a idea viable because each person has the mentioned characteristics different from the other. For example, there is no one with equal voice, with the same print digital or with eyes exactly the same. Even among twin brothers very similar there are differences.

Why use biometrics

Until today, one of the forms of identification the most used is the application of passwords. For example, access to an online banking website requires the user to enter the number your agency, your account number and a password. Depending on of the operation to be made, another password can be required.

There is also the use of cards with chips or with devices magnetic that enables the identification of an individual through a simple reading. This is common, for example, on badges, or in places whose door only opens if the card read you have privileges to do so.

The major problem of these methods is that any person you can get the password or the card. For example, an employee you can forget your badge on top of a table and another can capture it to have access to prohibited areas. A person can be forced for a burglar to provide a bank card and the password of your account. In this case, for the banking system, the owner is that you will be accessing. In summary, there is no how to ensure the uniqueness of this identification information because anyone can capture them.

With biometrics, this issue is extinguished, or, at least, mitigated. Although nothing prevents the identification device biometrics can be fooled, it is very difficult to copy a physical characteristic, and depending on what it is used in the identification, the copy is impossible (as the iris of the eye).

Types of biometric identification

There are several biological characteristics that can be used in an identification process. Let’s look at the key:

Digital printing: the use of digital printing is one of the forms of identification most commonly used. Consists of the capture the formation of grooves in the skin of the fingers and palms of the hands of a person. These grooves have certain endings and divisions that differ from person to person. For this type of identification there are basically three types of technology: optical, which makes use of a beam of light to read the print digital; capacitive, which measures the temperature that comes out of the print; and ultrasonic, which maps the fingerprint through of sound signals. An example of application of identification by digital printing is its use in ratchets, where the user you should put your finger on a player that, to confirm the identification, releases its access;

Retina: identification by the retina is one of the more secure methods, since it examines the formation of blood vessels in the fundus of the eye. For this, the individual you should look for a device that, through a beam of light low intensity, is able to “scan” your retina. The reliability of this method is due to the fact of the structure of the blood vessels are related to the vital signs of the person. Being more direct, the reader device will not be able to set the pattern of the retina of a person if it is without life;

Iris: the identification by means of iris it is a way less burdensome, since it is based on the reading of colored rings existing around the pupil (the oríficio black of the eye). By this combination to form a “picture” very complex, the reading of the iris is a equivalent format or more accurate than the digital printing. By not always needing to check the bottom of the eye, is a faster method id. The preference for id iris is also based on the fact that this is practically not change during the life of the person;

Hand geometry: this is also a method quite used to. It consists in measuring the shape of the hand of the individual. To use it, the person must position your hand on the reader device in the same way, otherwise the information measures may have differences. For this reason, the reader devices contain pins that indicate where each finger should be positioned. This is one of the methods the oldest that exists, but is not as accurate. On the other hand, is one of the means of identification faster, for which reason its use is common in places with lots of movement, such as universities, for example;

Face: in this method the definition of the traits of a person’s face is used as identification. It is a process that resembles, in part, with reading the geometry of the hands, but considers the shape of your nose, chin, ears, etc.;

Voice: the identification by voice works through the diction of a sentence that acts as a password. The user you should inform a recognizer of such sentence whenever it is needed your id. The drawback of this technology is that it should be used in environments without noise, as these may influence in the process. In addition, if the individual is hoarse or the flu and your voice will come out different and this could disturb your validation. For this reason, the identification voice is still slightly applied;

Signature: this type of identification is in the comparison of the signature with a recorded version in a database. In addition, it is checked of the writing speed, the applied force, among other factors. It is one of the mechanisms most commonly used in financial institutions, although it is not completely a method of biometric.

It is important to note that all of these methods have some barriers that need improvement or, depending on of the case and the application of another solution. By example, in the identification by the retina, the person that you are wearing glasses must take it off; on the identification for the face, a wound or a swelling in the face can harm to the process; in the identification of the geometry of the hand, a the ring can also bring problems; in the identification voice, outside noise, hoarseness or even an imitation of the voice of an individual can put doubt the procedure; in the comparison of signatures, the emotional state of the person can mess up and there is still the fact writing change over time.

Some examples of mechanisms of biometrics

The following examples deal with 3 different biometric devices: an identifier for the geometry of the hand, one handle per print and a digital device that makes identification by the reading iris:

1 – identifier for the geometry of the hand: the photo below shows a device that performs identification by means of geometry hand. Its operation is simple: the individual type a unique number (employee number, registration number or any other), and then positions his hand on a panel. This has pins that indicate where each finger should be positioned. With this, the position of the hand will always be the same, and so the instrument can measure its geometry and compare with the data recorded in your database. This type of device it can be applied, for example, at the turnstiles and in the control of the opening of doors. Some devices support the use of cards (such as badges) instead of typing numbers, and that has the advantage of the possibility of the user not having to decorate a combination, and as a disadvantage the risk of loss of the card;

2 – identification by fingerprint: the the unit seen below works in a similar way to the topic 1, however, makes identification by fingerprint instead of using the geometry of the hand. This type of device also being used as a substitute for passwords. For example, there are already solutions where instead of typing a password to access your work computer, the user positions your index finger on a reader attached to the machine. In the study, the possibility of using digital printing in access the sites and services on the Web. So, if you have that access a restricted area of the AbbreviationFinder, for example, you can simply use a reader device on your computer that will send the data to the site.

3 – identification by reading the iris:the the image below is a test that shows a process of identification by iris. The individual should look at fixed way to a the point of the instrument while this makes the read. Your application it is commonly made in the control of access to restricted areas, because it is a technology guy to be used on a large scale. A of the advantages of its use is that it is not always the user needs to enter a number, for the identification by eye tends to be so precise that this procedure is unnecessary.

Contrary to popular belief, biometrics is not a new concept. Unheard of is just your application in computational systems. It is known, for example, that the pharaohs of Egypt used the physical characteristics of people to distinguish between them: they used as identification information scars, eye color, dentition, etc.

However, only in the NINETEENTH century is that biometrics won attention scientific, when the characteristics physical of the people began to be used for work judicial objectives. In the TWENTIETH century, the biometrics came to be used in documents of identity, as is the case of RG (Registro General) in Brazil.


The use of biometrics for identification of persons already it is reality and it is unlikely that another concept the replace. The constant progress of communication technologies means that there is increasingly more interaction between people and increase the use of services, especially those who are linked to the financial sector. The fact is that at as access to information increases, it seems there is the same proportion in scams. In addition, it should be consider that biometrics can also represent a convenience to the user, a time which is becoming unbearable have a password for each service used in our daily life. By the other hand, there are those who believe that biometrics will arrive at the the end of a system to be able to identify each action a person aspect is this that shall involve ethical issues. Despite this, it is certain that biometrics will be increasingly part day-to-day life of the people. Proof of this is that the technologies involved gain continuous improvements. The day will come that you will be your password.

Introduction to Biometrics 1

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