Right counter height can improve fingerprint capture

Jan 19, 2007

Once a tool primarily used by law enforcement, biometric technologies such as fingerprint readers increasingly are being used by governments and private industry for a personal ID that can't easily be forged or stolen. But, despite their increased use, little attention has been paid to the human-system interaction that these technologies require.

With fingerprint scanners and other imaging devices, for example, user behavior can affect both the quality of the image and the time required to capture it. At present there are no guidelines for using biometric hardware and software that could lead to improved usability and interaction techniques.

As part of its role under the USA PATRIOT Act, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology conducted a study examining the effect of the work surface height of a fingerprint sensor on the quality and the time required to collect prints. NIST researchers collected five types of fingerprint images from 75 NIST employees, ranging in age from 17 to 67.

Images were collected from a "left slap"; (all fingers on the left hand except for the thumb); a "right slap"; a left or right thumb; and both thumbs. Work surface heights varied from 26 inches (660 millimeters) to 42 inches (1,067 millimeters). The fingerprint scanner used in the study had a height of 6 inches (152 millimeters)--the expected height of the next generation of fingerprint scanners to be used in many federal government applications.

The researchers found that participants performed fastest using a work surface height of 36 inches (914 millimeters); and a height of 26 inches (660 millimeters) produced the highest image quality. Participants preferred a work surface height of 32 or 36 inch (813 or 914 millimeters); the 42 inch height was most uncomfortable. Seventy-six percent of the participants preferred starting with their right hands, which also made the process faster. Quality dropped dramatically when thumbprints were taken simultaneously rather than one at a time.

Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology

Explore further: Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

Apr 16, 2014

Science has often come to the rescue when it comes to the world's big problems, be it the Green Revolution that helped avoid mass starvation or the small pox vaccine that eradicated the disease. There is ...

Japan stem cell body splashes cash on luxury furniture

Apr 14, 2014

A publicly-funded research institute in Japan, already embattled after accusing one of its own stem cell scientists of faking data, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on designer Italian furniture, reportedly to use up ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...