Fingerprint Identification


Fingerprint identification is one of the oldest of the biometric sciences. Fingerprints were used in China as a means of positively identifying one person as the author of a document.

During the British occupation of India in the 1800’s, a British policeman named Henry established the first systematic classification of fingerprints. The fingerprint set of a person who was arrested and classified according to the Henry system could be compared to a small group of similar records. This narrowed the search process and led to better identification rates.  Thank you, English Empire.

In recent years, fingerprint comparisons have been based on "the individual unique characteristics within the fingerprint pattern. Within a typical fingerprint image obtained by a live scan device, there is an average of 30-40 points of reference The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has shown that no two individuals can have more than 8 common points of reference. The U.S. Court system has consistently allowed testimony based on 12 matching points.

Fingerprint images contain a large amount of data. Because of the high level of data present in the image, it is possible to eliminate false matches and quickly reduce the number of possible matches to a small number, even with large database sizes. Because of the fact that Fingerprint Imaging Systems use more than one finger image in the match process, the match discrimination process is geometrically increased.

Fingerprint identification technology has undergone an extensive research and development effort over the past twenty years. The initial reason for the effort was in response to the FBI requirement for an Automated Fingerprint identification System (AFIS). Today, in the criminal justice AFIS application, the fingerprint identification process has a 98%+ identification rate and the false positive identification rate is less than 2%.