Biometrics?, What are

I like the vein recognition the best. My oldest child has to use a finger to sign on to their computer and it doesn’t take too long. Click here for the source of the information below or on their FAQ page.

Biometrics covers a variety of technologies in which unique identifiable attributes of people are used for identification and authentication. These include (but are not limited to) a person’s fingerprint, iris print, hand, face, voice, gait or signature, which can be used to validate the identity of individuals seeking to control access to computers, airlines, databases and other areas which may need to be restricted.
Biometrics is also a term used in statistics particularly in science, medicine and forestry (refer to the International Biometric Society), not related to biometric technology. It has been around for longer than biometrics for identity verification or recognition. In the mid to late 90s there was often confusion like this in the media when “biometrics” was used by the security and the pharmaceutical/medical world.

All UK visa applicants are now required to provide finger scans as part of the application process.


Types of Biometrics

DNA Matching

Chemical Biometric The identification of an individual using the analysis of segments from DNA.


Visual Biometric The identification of an individual using the shape of the ear.

Eyes – Iris Recognition

Visual Biometric The use of the features found in the iris to identify an individual.

Eyes – Retina Recognition

Visual Biometric The use of patterns of veins in the back of the eye to accomplish recognition.

Face Recognition

Visual Biometric The analysis of facial features or patterns for the authentication or recognition of an individuals identity. Most face recognition systems either use eigenfaces or local feature analysis.

Fingerprint Recognition

Visual Biometric The use of the ridges and valleys (minutiae) found on the surface tips of a human finger to identify an individual.

Finger Geometry Recognition

Visual/Spatial Biometric The use of 3D geometry of the finger to determine identity.


Behavioural Biometric The use of an individuals walking style or gait to determine identity.

Hand Geometry Recognition

Visual/Spatial Biometric The use of the geometric features of the hand such as the lengths of fingers and the width of the hand to identify an individual.


Olfactory Biometric The use of an individuals odor to determine identity.

Signature Recognition

Visual/Behavioural Biometric The authentication of an individual by the analysis of handwriting style, in particular the signature. There are two key types of digital handwritten signature authentication, Static and Dynamic. Static is most often a visual comparison between one scanned signature and another scanned signature, or a scanned signature against an ink signature. Technology is available to check two scanned signatures using advances algorithms. Dynamic is becoming more popular as ceremony data is captured along with the X,Y,T and P Coordinates of the signor from the signing device. This data can be utilised in a court of law using digital forensic examination tools, and to create a biometric template from which dynamic signatures can be authenticated either at time of signing or post signing, and as triggers in workflow processes.

Typing Recognition

Behavioural Biometric The use of the unique characteristics of a persons typing for establishing identity.

Vein Recognition

Vein recognition is a type of biometrics that can be used to identify individuals based on the vein patterns in the human finger or palm.

Voice / Speaker Recognition

There are two major applications of speaker recognition:

Voice – Speaker Verification / Authentication

Auditory Biometric  The use of the voice as a method of determining the identity of a speaker for access control.
If the speaker claims to be of a certain identity and the voice is used to verify this claim. Speaker verification is a 1:1 match where one speaker’s voice is matched to one template (also called a “voice print” or “voice model”). Speaker verification is usually employed as a “gatekeeper” in order to provide access to a secure system (e.g.: telephone banking). These systems operate with the user’s knowledge and typically require their cooperation.
For example, presenting a person’s passport at border control is a verification process – the agent compares the person’s face to the picture in the document.

Voice – Speaker Identification

Auditory Biometric  Identification is the task of determining an unknown speaker’s identity.
Speaker identification is a 1:N (many) match where the voice is compared against N templates. Speaker identification systems can also be implemented covertly without the user’s knowledge to identify talkers in a discussion, alert automated systems of speaker changes, check if a user is already enrolled in a system, etc.
For example, a police officer compares a sketch of an assailant against a database of previously documented criminals to find the closest match(es).
In forensic applications, it is common to first perform a speaker identification process to create a list of “best matches” and then perform a series of verification processes to determine a conclusive match.

Note: There is a difference between speaker recognition (recognising who is speaking) and speech recognition (recognising what is being said). These two terms are frequently confused, as is voice recognition. Voice recognition is a synonym for speaker, and thus not speech, recognition. In addition, there is a difference between the act of authentication (commonly referred to as speaker verification or speaker authentication) and identification.






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