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Types of Biometrics

Biometric technology is more refined, advanced, and super sensitive. It protects companies and individuals. Most importantly, it is impossible to duplicate biometrics works on biological characteristics of an individual.

An individual has two types of biological traits: behavioral and physical.

So, there are two types of biometrics: Behavioral Biometrics and Physiological Biometrics.

Behavioral Biometrics

Behavioral Biometrics is the scientific study of how people's and animals' bodies function.

It is further divided into:

  • Signature Recognition
  • Voice Recognition
  • Keystroke

Signature recognition

Signatures have been in use from decades for personal identification as well as for high-value transactions. It is a behavioral characteristic and can produce a lot of statistically reliable data and also can be captured by electronic means. Earlier, manual methods of signature verification were used which includes confirmation of its shape. The biometric signature recognition system can verify a lot more to make sure that if it is an authorized user or an imposter. Banks and financial service providers use signatures for authentication and authorization.

Voice recognition

Voice is a behavioral as well as a physiological trait that depends on the physical structure of the throat and mouth as well as chronic constituents. Being dependent on many factors, voice becomes a crucial biometric identifier which can be used to distinguish the speaker. Voice recognition recognizes the speaker as well as the speech. Speech recognition is an emerged technology-powered way of verifying what is being spoken, while speech recognition is about identifying who is talking, i.e., the identification of the speaker. Many people use speaker recognition and speech recognition interchangeably, but these two have different objectives, and approaches to implementation, except that both are related to human voice. A visual record of speech analyzed concerning frequency, duration, and amplitude is called the voice print or spectrogram. Voice recognition is very popular and low-cost, but it is less accurate and sometimes lengthy enrollment.

Keystroke Dynamics

The rhythm with which one types at a keyboard is sufficiently distinctive to form the basis of the biometric technology known as keystroke dynamics. Different people have different striking rate and style. It is analyzed and kept as a record for various security purposes.

Physiological Biometrics

Physiological biometrics is based on a behavioral trait of an individual. It involves all physical characteristics like, ears, eyes, iris, fingerprints, etc.

It is further divided into:

  • Ear authentication
  • Eye vein recognition
  • Facial recognition
  • Finger vein recognition
  • Fingerprint recognition
  • DNA matching
  • Footprint and foot dynamics
  • Gait recognition

Ear authentication

In biometrics, the shape of the external ear (also called pinna in the biological term) is considered physiological biometric characteristics. Ear authentication uses sound waves to determine the way of the ear canal of an individual. The shape of the human ear canal is considered unique like fingerprints or iris patterns.

Working of ear authentication

We need some external devices to see the working of ear authentication. The subject wears a special earphone that includes a microphone to capture the sound waves which are reflected from the ear canal. For this purpose, high-frequency, low sound waves between 18 kHz to 48 kHz are used.

  • Every individual has a different feature and a different shape of an ear canal so, the reflected wave differs from each other. The microphone captures this reflected wave, and the recognition system can identify the person by the pre-established identification information.

Advantages of ear authentication

  • Ear authentication is accurate and easy to implement as there is no requirement to put attention to any imaging or scanning which makes it more suitable for today's fast-paced life.
  • Ear authentication is not vulnerable to spoofing, unlike other biometrics, as the shape of the ear canal stays secure inside the ears.

Disadvantages of ear authentication

  • In-ear authentication, the subject needs to wear special external earphones.
  • Is expensive as the external headsets lead to some extra costing.

Eye vein recognition

Eye pattern recognition is another biometric identification method, which makes the use of pattern formed by veins on the sclera. Human eyes open a lot of possibility of personal identification with its different structural elements. Eye vein recognition works by iris pattern in the human eye. The iris is the pigmented elastic tissue that has an adjustable circular opening in the center. Every individual has different iris patterns and colors. Even the iris pattern of your left and right eyes is different. The iris patterns and colors change from person to person. This technology is possible even from a distance, hence comfortable for its users. This technology was developed by Dr. Reza Derakhshani, professor of computer science and electrical engineering at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Working of Eye pattern recognition

  • The technology uses the vein pattern of the white part of eyes known as the sclera. Eye pattern recognition technology can capture it with the help of a digital camera as these veins are even visible with naked eyes.
  • The system processes the fetched digital images to generate a biometric template, which can be allied with the identity information of an individual. The individual can later validate his or her identity using eyes. Unlike retina or iris recognition, the subject has to glance on either side to get verified.

Advantages of Eye Recognition

  • The iris pattern is not subject to alteration with age, eye redness or alcohol consumption.
  • The eye pattern recognition technology even works for the person with glasses or contact lenses.
  • With the invention of the Eye Verify Biometrics, many mobile authentication applications for banking and financial service have launched this technology which has provided great ease to individuals.

Disadvantages of Eye Recognition

  • Being an unproven technology, it is called as a money-making solution for mobile authentication as you have a latest updated smartphone.
  • The eyes pattern scanning will only work when the phones are held close to the eyes else the system will not recognize the vein pattern.
  • This latest technology is only compatible with updated smartphones and is not be accessible for older smartphones or mobile phones without a camera.

Facial recognition

Our facial structure is the primary approach that people leverage to remember each other. It is also a well exposed biometric technology that is used for human identification and authentication. Now when we have high-quality cameras with the ability to zoom, it is also likely to recognize a subject from the distance, making facial recognition also suitable for security and surveillance applications.

Working of Facial Recognition

  • Facial recognition technology is straightforward to set up. A digital camera and facial recognition software are all you need to set up this recognition technology. For inclined security applications, more hardware like the camera and infrared light emitter, multi-camera setup, etc are deployed.
  • Facial recognition is one of the quickly developing versatile biometric technologies. The reason behind this growth is the continuous rise of smartphones and personal computing devices. The Modern-day gadgets carry two cameras' one at the front and the other at the back. Hence, making it easy to leverage the face recognition for user authentication.
  • Nowadays gadgets makers include additional hardware like Infrared emitter for face recognition and a camera to capture IR illuminated 3D map of facial structure. Apple was the first company to introduce this setup with iPhone X with Face ID moniker.

Advantages of Facial Recognition

  • Facial Recognition technology is easy to set up, and in this technology, no additional hardware is needed in the present-day computing devices and smartphones.
  • This versatile biometric technology has made the life so easy even a glimpse of your face can abruptly open your phone's lock. It is also used for personal recognition as well as surveillance applications.

Disadvantages of Facial Recognition

  • The facial recognition might fail in the identification of identical twins.
  • Face recognition technology may be exposed to manipulation or fraudulent attacks.
  • With age, your face gets wrinkled, or during accidents sometimes the face gets distorted or nowadays to look better people generally have plastic surgeries of their face. Thus, making facial recognition is less efficient.

Finger vein recognition

Finger vein recognition is a form of biometrics used to classify people and verify their identity. It is a recognition technology which works on the unique pattern of blood vessels which is found underneath the covering of the skin of the human finger. This pattern is formed by the blood vessels and the veins that carry the blood towards the heart. Hitachi introduced vein ID, an authentication technology based on human finger vein pattern in 2005. There is no the definite way how an individual's blood vessel will form the model in the finger (or palm, or pretty much everywhere), it has very high possibility to differ significantly among individuals. This unique pattern formed by veins in the human finger will be extensively used for personal identification and authentication shortly.

Working of vein recognition

  • Vein ID identification system can match the vascular pattern of a human finger with other already or newly processed finger vein IDs. Vein ID recognition technology uses infrared light and a monochrome charge-coupled device (CCD) camera to fetch the vein pattern.
  • As the infrared light which passes through the finger gets absorbed by the hemoglobin present in the deoxygenated blood of the veins and hence an image is captured by a CCD camera.
  • In the resulting image, the finger vein pattern appears as dark lines. The recognition system digitizes and processes this information which is sent for user verification or identification.

Advantages of Finger Vein Recognition

  • Hidden beneath the finger skin, the vein pattern is unexposed and can only be scanned with a particular setup, hence hard to replicate and circumvent the system.
  • Being located beneath the surface, a finger vein pattern is securer than fingerprints, face recognition and similar recognition methods in which biometric characteristics are exposed and can be collected without a subject's consent.

Disadvantages of Finger Vein Recognition

  • Only limited numbers of equipment and applications are available.
  • This technology is quite complicated and just fewer people are aware of his technique.

Fingerprint recognition

The Fingerprint recognition is one of the oldest and, an efficient biometrics method since fingerprints have long been recognized as an accurate and primary identification method as the fingerprints of different individuals are not the same. Like all the other biometrics technology, it identifies and verifies a person's fingerprint with data saved in it beforehand. It has been a part of the forensic investigation since the early days of fingerprint identification. Fingerprint recognition has come a long way since then as the process of fingerprint identification and matching advanced in forensic investigation agencies with the use of technology. Nowadays, fingerprint recognition is extensively used from mobile devices to door locks and even for high-security access control. Identification and authentication have been made possible by tiny yet efficient fingerprint sensors for mobile devices.

Working of Fingerprint recognition

  • The systems are working on the fingerprint recognition technology stores the unique ridge pattern of the fingertips of the people. Many different techniques like optical, capacitive, thermal, etc are used to collect the fingertips pattern.
  • The captured image of the human fingerprint is enriched to make it functional, and then a biometric template is produced using various sophisticated algorithms, that are always unique for an individual.
  • When any identity data of an individual is associated with this template, it becomes biometric fingerprint identity. This template is matched against the existing scans, and the biometric system returns a true if it gets a match or returns false if there is no match, as the case may be.
  • All the process described above is just a touch away at the user level, and everything else goes underneath a fingerprint recognition system.

Advantages of Fingerprint recognition

  • Fingerprint recognition is an inexpensive, secure technology which is easy to set up and is the most established biometric modality. From unlocking a gadget to office punching machine, fingerprint identification is the safest and the cheapest method.
  • It is also easy to handle and also can be managed easily at the user end.
  • Extensive deployments across all industry types have made it a more reliable method of biometric identification. Law enforcement agencies, hospitals, and clinics, schools and colleges, gym and fitness centers have adopted the technology to identify and verify individuals rightfully.

Disadvantages of Fingerprint recognition

  • Having been associated with forensic investigations and law enforcement, early implementation suffered from low acceptability.
  • While Apple's Touch ID was broadly recognized as a biometric advancement, but the famous hacker Jan Krissler was able to hack the technology just a day after the iPhone was released. Likewise, researchers from the Chaos Computer Club generated fake fingers to unlock iPhones.
  • Performance of recognition systems suffers from a surface condition of fingertips like wet or dirty fingers, scars, skin diseases, etc.

DNA matching

DNA matching has been introduced in our world a few decades before only. In this biometric technology, some part of an individual's body like saliva, nail, hair or blood is picked by forensic folks and then is taken through all forensic labs for various investigations and medicinal purposes. DNA contains information about race, paternity, and medical conditions for specific disease. In movies and especially in CID we have seen these kinds of thrillers and CSI stories. DNA matching is a proven method of personal identification where a physical sample of an individual can be analyzed to confirm his/her identity. With the invention of this technology, forensic investigations have got great relief as this biometrics helps in tracing the criminals. A DNA sample is always collected with the subject's consent. The DNA sample is usually gathered through a buckle smear. However, semen, blood, saliva, etc may also be obtained and used for DNA profiling.

Working of DNA matching

  • The collected sample is collected through one of many methods available for DNA profiling like STR Analysis, RFPL Analysis, AmpFLP, PCR Analysis, etc.
  • The outcomes are then compared with other fetched samples to find a match. DNA profiling is an exact and accurate method of identification.

Advantages of DNA matching

  • DNA matching is a very accurate method of identification.
  • It has become a reliable and matured method of identification and hence is also being used in law enforcement for quite some time.
  • This technology is used for many medicinal purposes. The bone marrow transplant is only possible after successful DNA matching.
  • Unlike other biometric identification technologies, it does not suffer from system performance issues.

Disadvantages of DNA matching

  • Like most other biometric identification technologies, DNA profiling requires a physical sample for collecting biometric data.
  • The biological samples of DNA profiling are needed to be stored with appropriate environmental conditions.
  • However, in a recent study which was undertaken by Israeli, researchers had shown that DNA can be manufactured in a lab and can also be used to manipulate the results. Hence, DNA Samples can be prone to contamination.
  • This technology is not fully automated yet.
  • DNA matching is not so fast unlike other biometric methods and is very expensive.

Footprint and foot dynamics

Unlike fingerprints and palm, a human print footprint is also considered to be a unique physiological character and allows distinctive properties. Ridge structure of human foot even stays the same throughout a person's life same like skin ridges on palm and fingers prints do not change for life. Hence, it gives us a chance to use footprints as a mean of personal identification biometrics. The underlying technology for scanning and processing footprints stays more or less same as other finger ridge recognition technology. Footprint scanning technology is not a developed biometric technology under development, and various approaches are being experimented with.

Working of Footprint and foot dynamics

  • High resolutions cameras are used by current systems to capture the footprints, and after pre-processing the image, the system extracts the shape by using the gradient vector flow (GVF), and minutiae.
  • In the dynamic footprint approach, the footprint of a subject on the move is used to identify an individual. When the recognition technology comes close to its maturity, it is expected to use features like foot shape, texture, friction ridge, etc.
  • Despite the extensively studies for forensic investigations and being a unique physiological characteristic, footprint biometrics is not commonly used for human authentication or identification.

Advantages of Footprint and foot dynamics

  • The footprint recognition method can be useful for some special use cases like spa, thermal baths, and covert identification.
  • The footprints are not intended for high-security applications, so the storage of footprint and foot dynamics biometric data does not profess any security threats.

Disadvantages of Footprint and foot dynamics

  • The use of dynamic footprint recognition is considered difficult in commercial biometric systems due to several properties like user-unfriendliness of the data acquisition process, and people generally wear shoes so difficult for foot scanning, etc.
  • The footprint recognition systems are not suitable for high-security applications like electronic banking, access control, etc.

Gait recognition

A gait is defined as the cyclic and coordinated combination of movements that result in human locomotion. Every human or animal, all identify a familiar person just by observing his/her gait because human gait is a distinguishable feature. With the invention of the computer-based imaging and the machine vision, it has become possible to pass this ability of recognition to the networks. Unlike other biometric systems, gait recognition systems are pattern recognition systems, which can map the pattern of human gait. Since gait is a behavioral characteristic and repeats itself in cycles as long as someone moves. The data which is generated out of this pattern is considered unique, can be captured and processed to recognize that individual. Gait recognition system uses some salient property that results in human locomotion, e.g., walking, identity, pathology, which are based on the cyclic and coordinated motions.

Working off a Gait Recognition

Typically, gait biometrics is tested in a recognition system.

  • Every individual has a characteristic and distinctive way of walking which can be mapped using modern computing and imaging. The mapped pattern is digitalized and then taken through recognition algorithms designed to generate a digital biometric template unique to the subject involved. The biometric system extracts a set of descriptive features for an unknown test subject. It then compares the elements of the individuals stored in the database. This biometrics is sufficient for the evaluation of surveillance and recognition where there is no prior information about the identity of the matter.
  • Two broad approaches of the assessment of gait biometrics have emerged so far. The first is to estimate the rate of correct recognition, while the second is to compare the variations in a population versus the differences in measurements. Neither method is entirely satisfactory, but they both provide insights into performance. We discuss both approaches in the remainder of this section.
  • The performance of gait recognition systems is below what is required for use in biometrics. When one considers that gait is best suited to recognition or surveillance scenarios where the databases are likely to be very large, one would expect high false alarm rates that will render a system useless. Furthermore, tests to date do not adequately consider variation in gait measurements over long periods, and under with different imaging conditions.

Advantages of Gait Recognition

  • Gait analysis has promoted and benefited the gait-related pathology. With the help of this gait analysis system, all the gait-related disorders can be diagnosed.
  • Not only in disguising the confusion, these systems have proved themselves advantageous in the monitoring of its treatment.
  • The gait has various attractive properties. Acquisition of images portraying an individual's pace can be done quickly in public areas, with only some simple instrumentation, and does not require the awareness or even the cooperation of the individual who is under observation.
  • Many new kinds of research are going on, and even China is rolling out new gait recognition software that can identify someone also if their face is covered-just by analyzing how they walk.

Disadvantages of Gait Recognition

  • The regulation of gait as a biometric for human recognition and identification is still new and young when compared to other biometrics technologies methods that use voice, fingerprints, or faces. Thus, it is not yet fully developed and hence not clears how useful gait is for biometrics.
  • Various areas of gait analysis still need further investigation and studies on variability with the terrain, footwear, long periods, and other confounding factors, to find gait features that vary only with the individual.

Next TopicUses of Biometrics




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