3D Fingerprint Scans Made Faster And Cheaper

This contactless system can accurately scan a human fingerprint in 3D in just two seconds.

AsianScientist (Apr. 4, 2017) – Researchers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) have developed a system for three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification that is cheaper and faster than commercially available models.

Automated contact-based 2D fingerprinting identification is commonly used by law enforcement agencies to identify people. However, contact-based acquisition of biometric scans by rolling or pressing fingers against a hard surface often results in partial or degraded images due to skin deformations, slippages or smearing.

Non-contact fingerprint systems, on the other hand, avoid direct contact between the imaging sensor and the elastic surface of the skin, and can thus reduce inaccuracies due to problems associated with contact-based systems. Although there are emerging contactless 3D systems, they tend to be very expensive and bulky due to their use of multiple cameras or structured lighting systems.

Minutiae features from the fingerprint ridges—such as ridge ending and bifurcation—are universally considered to be the most reliable of fingerprint details, ensuring that each fingerprint is unique. About 40-45 minutiae points can be recovered from a fingerprint on an average. The more minutiae points are matched, higher is the confidence and reliability in the matching.

All commercially available fingerprinting systems still recover the minutiae details in 2D form, i.e. by locating the minutiae position and minutiae orientation in 2D spaces. Instead, a team of researchers led by Associate Professor Ajay Kumar represented fingerprints using minutiae height and orientation (i.e. gradient of minutiae ridges) in 3D space.

Rather than using multiple cameras to capture a 3D image, Kumar and his team used a single, low-cost digital camera coupled with a few computer-controlled LED light sources. This allowed them to efficiently acquire high-frequency information using advanced proprietary 3D fingerprint template generation algorithms.

Compared to commercial 3D fingerprint scanners, the new scanner is more compact and has a faster processing time of approximately two seconds. It costs only US$780 but has an accuracy of about 97 percent, the researchers said. The contactless system is also more hygienic than contact-based 2D systems, an added advantage in a world increasingly concerned about the inadvertent spread of disease.


Source: Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
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