Imagine you’re James Bond, and you have to get into a secret laboratory to disarm a deadly biological weapon and save the world. But first, you have to get past the security system. It requires more than just a key or a password — you need to have the villain’s eye, his voice and the shape of his hand to get inside. This technology what villain implemented is nothing but a field in biometrics. You might also encounter this scenario, minus the deadly biological weapon, during an average day on the job.

In this article, you’ll learn about biometric systems that use handwriting, hand geometry, voiceprints, iris structure and vein structure. You’ll also learn why more businesses and governments use the technology and whether Q’s fake contact lenses, recorded voice and silicone hand could really get James Bond into the lab (and let him save the world).

Instead of using something you have (like a key) or something you know (like a password), biometrics uses who you are to identify you. Biometrics can use physical characteristics, like your face, fingerprints, irises or veins, or behavioral characteristics like your voice, handwriting or typing rhythm. Unlike keys and passwords, your personal traits are extremely difficult to lose or forget. They can also be very difficult to copy. For this reason, many people consider them to be safer and more secure than keys or passwords.

IRIS OF OUR EYE ….WHICH IS USED FOR IDENTIFICATION IN BIOMETRICS


How a biometric system works

Biometric systems can seem complicated, but they all use the same three steps:

  • Enrollment: The first time you use a biometric system, it records basic information about you, like your name or an identification number. It then captures an image or recording of your specific trait.
  • Storage: Contrary to what you may see in movies, most systems don’t store the complete image or recording. They instead analyze your trait and translate it into a code or graph. Some systems also record this data onto a smart card that you carry with you.
  • Comparison: The next time you use the system, it compares the trait you present to the information on file. Then, it either accepts or rejects that you are who you claim to be.

Systems also use the same three components:

  • sensor that detects the characteristic being used for identification
  • computer that reads and stores the information
  • Software that analyzes the characteristic, translates it into a graph or code and performs the actual comparisons

Use in identifying Handwriting

This Tablet PC has a signature verification system

At first glance, using handwriting to identify people might not seem like a good idea. After all, many people can learn to copy other people’s handwriting with a little time and practice. It seems like it would be easy to get a copy of someone’s signature or the required password and learn to forge it.

But biometric systems don’t just look at how you shape each letter; they analyze the act of writing. They examine the pressure you use and the speed and rhythm with which you write. They also record the sequence in which you form letters like whether you add dots and crosses as you go or after you finish the word.

A handwriting recognition system’s sensors can include a touch-sensitive writing surface or a pen that contains sensors that detect angle, pressure and direction. The software translates the handwriting into a graph and recognizes the small changes in a person’s handwriting from day to day and over time.

Use of biometrics in hand and finger geometry

Systems that measure hand and finger geometry use a digital camera and light. To use one, you simply place your hand on a flat surface, aligning your fingers against several pegs to ensure an accurate reading. Then, a camera takes one or more pictures of your hand and the shadow it casts. It uses this information to determine the length, width, thickness and curvature of your hand or fingers. It translates that information into a numerical template which is analyzed by the system allocated….

Digital picture of biometric use

People may loose the shape of their hands due to some accidents or due to change in their weight. This affects the recognition of them. This is one of the main drawbacks in this system which can be overcome by constantly updating the changes in person’s details which is rather a tough work to do.

Concept of VOICE PRINTS

To enroll in a voiceprint system, you either say the exact words or phrases that it requires, or you give an extended sample of your speech so that the computer can identify you no matter which words you say.

When people think of voiceprints, they often think of the wave pattern they would see on an oscilloscope. But the data used in a voiceprint is a sound spectrogram, not a wave form.  A spectrogram is basically a graph that shows a sound’s frequency on the vertical axis and time on the horizontal axis. Different speech sounds create different shapes within the graph. Spectrograms also use colors or shades of grey to represent the acoustical qualities of sound.

Speaker recognition systems use spectrograms
to represent human voices.

Some companies use voiceprint recognition so that people can gain access to information or give authorization without being physically present. Unfortunately, people can bypass some systems, particularly those that work by phone, with a simple recording of an authorized person’s password. That’s why some systems use several randomly-chosen voice passwords or use general voiceprints instead of prints for specific words.

The most used concept by villains in movies: IRIS SCANNING

Iris scanning can seem very futuristic, but at the heart of the system is a simple CCD digital camera. It uses both visible and near-infrared light to take a clear, high-contrast picture of a person’s iris. With near-infrared light, a person’s pupil is very black, making it easy for the computer to isolate the pupil and iris.

When you look into an iris scanner, either the camera focuses automatically or you use a mirror or audible feedback from the system to make sure that you are positioned correctly. Usually, your eye is 3 to 10 inches from the camera. When the camera takes a picture, the computer locates:

  • The center of the pupil
  • The edge of the pupil
  • The edge of the iris
  • The eyelids and eyelashes

Iris scanners are becoming more common in high-security applications because people’s eyes are so unique. The chance of mistaking one iris code for another is 1 in 10 to the 78th power. They also allow more than 200 points of reference for comparison, as opposed to 60 or 70 points in fingerprints.

The iris is a visible but protected structure, and it does not usually change over time, making it ideal for biometric identification. Most of the time, people’s eyes also remain unchanged after eye surgery, and blind people can use iris scanners as long as their eyes have irises. Eyeglasses and contact lenses typically do not interfere or cause inaccurate readings.

Iris recognition

Last concept here: VEIN GEOMETRY

As with irises and fingerprints, a person’s veins are completely unique. Twins don’t have identical veins, and a person’s veins differ between their left and right sides. Many veins are not visible through the skin, making them extremely difficult to counterfeit or tamper with. Their shape also changes very little as a person ages.

To use a vein recognition system, you simply place your finger, wrist, palm or the back of your hand on or near the scanner. A camera takes a digital picture using near-infrared light. The hemoglobin in your blood absorbs the light, so veins appear black in the picture. As with all the other biometric types, the software creates a reference template based on the shape and location of the vein structure.

Vein scans for medical purposes usually use radioactive particles. Biometric security scans, however, just use light that is similar to the light that comes from a remote control.

VEIN GEOMETRY RECOGNITION

That’s about biometrics introduction. They do have their drawbacks but still we can say that it’s a great invention from humans. Hope for this branch to grow and make people comfortable by extending itself.

Courtesy: Howstuffworks

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