What Are Biometrics? The terms “Biometrics” and “Biometry” have been used since the early 20th century, to refer to the development of statistical and mathematical methods applicable to data analysis problems in the biological sciences.
More recently, the term “Biometrics” has also been used to refer to the emerging field of technology, devoted to the identification of a person based on physiological or behavioural characteristics. They include fingerprint and facial recognition, hand and finger geometry, retinal or iris scanning, voice patterns and other techniques.
How Does Biometrics Work? Your finger, iris or other unique body part is first scanned and digitally stored in the biometric system. Whenever you try to gain access, your finger or iris is scanned again and compared against the stored sample. If the two match within a preset threshold, you are allowed access.
Security is an increasingly important issue for us all on both national and local levels, due to the rising level of identity theft, false passports and other crimes involving false identity.
Since proof of our identity is frequently required, we have until now used a wide assortment of methods to verify our identity e.g. user-names, passwords, signatures, keys, cards etc.
Now the Biometric technologies are providing an extensive array of highly secure identification and personal verification solutions, which allow us to identify ourselves with things that we carry with us wherever we go, such as our hands, eyes, voices, faces, fingerprints etc.
Apart from the convenience, biometrics can be much more effective, as a key or ID card, for example, can fall into anyone’s hands.
Biometric security is set to become a part of every day life and a biometric finger print system is one of the safest and most secure methods of access control at the moment.You can forget your password, PIN number and keys, or swipe cards may be lost or stolen, however, your fingerprint is unique and is always with you.
Biometric Fingerprint Technology is one of the most developed of all and a whole range of products are now available, offering real high security solutions. Most importantly, users understand and accept the concept as a simple, trusted, convenient method of residential security.
Other Biometric Authentication Technologies such as Iris, Retina, Facial and Hand geometry systems are also in use:-
Iris Recognition This method of identification is becoming popular and is second after fingerprints for identification purposes.The iris of the eye has physical patterns, which are unique to each person – no two irises are identical in the world.
Iris-scan biometric systems can analyse over 200 points of the iris, including rings, furrows and freckles.The characteristics of the iris are not changed due to using eyeglasses, contact lenses or by eye surgery.
Biometric Retina Recognition Systems are among the most accurate of all biometric technologies and use a light to shine on the retina, to allow examination of the pattern of blood vessels at the back of the eye. The scans require the person to place their eye close to the scanner, remain still, and focus on a specified point.
Hand Recognition Biometric hand geometry recognition measures and evaluates the physical aspects of a person’s hand, measuring the overall size and shape of the hand, including the length of the fingers and joints and skin characteristics such as creases and ridges.Hand recognition systems are quite common, but not considered to be as accurate as other biometric technologies.
Biometric Facial Recognition measures and analyses a person’s face by looking at characteristics such as the overall structure and shape of the face and also the distances between the eyes, nose, mouth, and jaw edges.
These systems can easily verify the identity of a person standing two feet away in less than five seconds. Facial recognition systems require a person being analysed to smile, blink, or nod their head to prevent a face mould being used to fool the system.
Typical Biometric System Products, which have been developed and are now available include, door locks, safes, ID cards, time clocks, keyboards and cell phones.
Biometric Passports are to be Introduced in the UK in 2006
The Home Office Minister Andy Burnham said:
“Biometrics technology is increasingly being used all over the world to combat fraud. The first biometric ePassport, containing a biometric facial, will be introduced here from early 2006. The Government does not want British citizens to have ´Second Class´ passports and we will be moving towards Biometric fingerprint, as well as facial image data in passports in the future, to keep in step with our European partners.
We are also looking at extending the protections these Biometric systems can bring to our everyday lives, through a National Identity Card Scheme.” More Information here:-