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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Ubiquitous Biometrics: Fulfilling the Promise at Last

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Ubiquitous Biometrics: Fulfilling the Promise at Last

At last, technology has removed the two missing elements that have been inhibiting the widespread application of fingerprint-based biometrics....

by Don W. Lake

January 2003

Okay, I know that biometrics is not a new thing. I've been working in the field off and on since the late 1960s, back when the immediate challenge was to capture a fingerprint image properly and then store it in some rational fashion. I also know that the fingerprint part of biometrics is a viable business, at least when measured by the number of companies who either are, or have been, involved in it..

Figure 1: Sensor assembly.
Figure 2: Development system
Figure 2: Development system.
(Photos: ODI Biometrics)

But this is Advanced Imaging, I hear you saying, so what am I doing going on about fingerprints?

The reason stems from the fact that while often promised, fingerprints are NOT universally applied. The technology has yet to "take-off." Therefore, there must be something still lacking in the technology. This article will try to identify the missing elements and see if a solution is near at hand.

Now, then, when I say "not universally applied," let me cite a couple of examples that should be in use but are not. For example, when you go to unlock a door, you put your key in the slot and turn it. It opens or it doesn't. If it doesn't, it is because the finger holding the key is not the one authorized to use the key. What's missing today is a fingerprint verification system embedded in the head of the key.

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