Biometric Modalities: What makes a “Good Biometric?”

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The ear as a biometric identifierThe following is a guest post from Jason Hodge, Vice President of Business Development for SecurLinx.  SecurLinx specializes in networked biometric deployments and multi-modal biometric integration.  You can read more about biometric technology on the SecurLinx blog which can be found at http://securlinx.blogspot.com/

Iris, Retina, Face, Fingerprint, Finger vein, Palm geometry, Palm vein, gait, ear, DNA, body odor, voice, typing rhythm, signature recognition.  The range of human physical traits and behaviors offers fertile ground for scientists interested in quantifying them for use in identifying individuals.

Two main forces have influenced the selection of biometric identification modality from the near limitless choices: Convenience and Necessity.

Face and fingerprint have been by far the most convenient from both scientific and deployment perspectives.

Scientists need data to develop the algorithms that biometric systems use to identify individuals.  For face and finger, data was never a problem.  Bureaucracies have been collecting both for a century.

In deployment, it’s easy and convenient for participating individuals to interact with the technology.

Necessity, playing its usual role, has driven the development of other biometric modalities.  From a development perspective, given enough data, time and money, I suspect any definable aspect of the human anatomy could be used as a biometric identifier.

In instances where teeth are all that is known about an individual, they are used for high confidence identification.

As long as the telephone is with us as a ubiquitous communication tool, there will be significant demand for voice recognition no matter the challenges.

In order to displace finger/hand and face/eye biometrics in wide scale deployments, the newer biometric modalities will have to out-compete them on two levels, in the lab and in the market.  But in order to thrive as high value-added tools in highly specialized deployments they just need to help solve a high value problem.

Any biometric modality can be useful, especially if it’s the only one available.

Jason can be reached at Mail: blog@securlinx.com Twitter: @SecurLinx URL: www.securlinx.com

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