NIST sets the stage for contactless fingerprint readers

Companies develop readers that can scan fingerprints from a close distance

Biometric technologies may soon replace cumbersome passwords, but the U.S. National Institute of Technology is looking out to a time when you won't even have to press your finger onto a grimy fingerprint reader to gain entry to a computer.

NIST has funded a number of companies to make touchless fingerprint readers possible, and is creating a framework for evaluating possible technologies for widespread use.

Touchless fingerprint readers could be particularly useful for quickly identifying large numbers of people, such as a queue entering a controlled facility, NIST contends. Germaphobes would also appreciate the technology, as they would not have to touch potentially germy fingerprint readers to gain access to their computers.

In the past decade, NIST, which recommends specific standards across a wide range of industries, was instrumental in establishing a technological baseline for standard fingerprint readers, which are now being increasingly used in computers and other devices requiring stringent techniques to identify users.

Now the agency wants to duplicate that success with contactless readers.

Companies such as 3M and MorphoTrak have developed prototype contactless readers with the help of NIST funding. NIST is also looking to fund additional companies to develop other models.

Contactless readers, in theory, would produce clearer images than those captured by mashing a human digit onto a fingerprinting surface, which distorts the friction ridges of a finger.

Capturing the fingerprint from a distance, however, requires a different set of technologies than those used by standard fingerprint readers. New sensing technologies must be developed as well as new algorithms to capture the fingerprints against varying levels of background light.

While the companies work on building the prototypes, NIST is developing metrics for evaluating how well they work.

Models need to be developed that can be used to evaluate the accuracy of the contactless images, as well as calibration patterns that address aspects of image capture such as resolution, focus, contrast, spatial consistency.

Working with the FBI, NIST is developing a set of requirements for how the technology should work across different product lines. Such work will set the stage for certifying contactless fingerprint readers for U.S. government and military use.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?