Contactless fingerprint recognition captures fingerprints using the phone’s camera

Exceed For 100 years, recording people’s fingerprints required them to press their fingertips against a surface. Initially this involved ink, but has since moved to sensors embedded in airport scanners and phone screens. The next stage of fingerprinting doesn’t involve touching anything at all.

So-called contactless fingerprint recognition technology uses the phone’s camera and image processing algorithms to capture people’s fingerprints. Put your hand in front of the camera lens and the software recognizes and records all the lines and swirls on your fingertips. The technology, which has been in development for years, is poised for wider real-world application. That includes the use of police — a move that worries civil liberties and privacy groups.

Contactless fingerprint recognition requires multiple processes, said Chace Hatcher, vice president of technology at fingerprint technology company Telos. “Its basic component is an image processing algorithm that works with computer vision principles to convert a photo of a finger into a machine-matchable fingerprint,” Hatcher said.

To accurately collect someone’s fingerprint, Hatcher said, a person’s hand should be about 5 centimeters away from the phone’s camera. From here, the company’s machine-learning algorithm recognizes your fingertips and processes the image. Hatcher said the system is able to detect the ridges that define fingerprints by identifying shadows and lighter areas. “We needed a camera that could autofocus,” Hatcher said. Fingerprints can be recognized using phone cameras with resolutions as low as two megapixels. The result is a traditional fingerprint image, which can then be matched against an existing database.

Last week, Telos was announced as a co-winner of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) competition, which The performance of a contactless fingerprint recognition system is studied and how are they used by law enforcement. Reports by Industry Title Biometrics Updatethe results show that the technology is ready for wider roll-out.

Contactless fingerprints are just one part of a rapidly growing biometrics industry that sells ways to collect and process data created by our bodies.Biometrics can include face recognitionthe way you walk, the vein pattern on your wrist, and the way you sound. Among other things, these technologies are used to replace passwords and help prove your identity When opening a new bank account. Biometrics is big business and some estimate the market is worth it . $127 billion by 2030.

Despite the increase in biometrics, it can be controversial. theft or spoofing of fingerprints and other biometric information can lead to fraud and identity theft.Some lawmakers in Europe are pushing for a ban on the use of biometrics to identify people in public spaces – saying the surveillance technology could be “The end of anonymity.”

Shweta Mohandas, a privacy lawyer at the non-profit Center for Internet and Society in India, said any new technology should undergo a privacy and harm impact assessment before it is widely used. “The more worrying question is when these technologies will be introduced into developing economies that have neither standards nor robust data protection legislation to protect individuals from possible harm,” Mohandas said.

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