How does a fingerprint reader work?


















Common Questions about Fingerprint Technology


Can fake Fingerprints fool the sensors?

Spoofing sensors, a concept often depicted by Hollywood, is much more difficult and expensive than the movies would lead one to believe.     Advanced silicon sensors capture fingerprint images and include specialised sensing capability to recognise the properties of real fingers, making it extremely difficult to bypass these sensors.

Whilst no sensor design is perfect, the extreme scientific effort and significant resources and expense required to try to defeat them means that our typical domestic and commercial users would have nothing to worry about.

Can unregistered fingers be accepted?

Every Fingerprint is unique, so the pattern of significant points that are recorded for a registered finger is also unique.     However, for practical use, Fingerprint devices are set to accept less than a 100% match of the pattern of registered points. This is to allow for a damaged finger or a finger placed at a different angle or position on the sensor during verification where something less than 100% of the registered points are scanned.     Thus, there is some flexibility in use to ensure that authorised people are not frequently rejected.

The typical reduced acceptance level does introduce a small probability, estimated at 1 in 100,000, of an unregistered finger being accepted.  However, this risk is probably a lot less than the chance of someone finding, borrowing or stealing your key.

Does Fingerprint Technology work for everyone?

Fingerprint Technology works for most everyone but not 100% of the population.     For instance, young children (5 and under) have not usually developed their Fingerprints and body chemistry sufficiently for Fingerprint scanning to be successful.     People who constantly erode their Fingerprints (eg: Bricklayers, Concreters) may not be successful candidates unless they can find a least abused finger that may work.     Also, children between 6 and 18 may need to re-register their fingers every 6 months or so because their Fingerprint pattern is expanding as they grow.

There are other conditions that can affect the quality of Fingerprint scans.     Things such as blood circulation issues, strong blood and pain medications, exceptionally dry skin, and even metallic residues on the fingers (eg: metalworkers) can all upset the body chemistry as far as Fingerprint scanning is concerned.     The effect these things may have on the quality of Fingerprint scans can vary from person to person and from time to time. Fortunately, in most cases, there are some tips we can give you to improve the quality of your Fingerprint scans.

Does using my Fingerprint present a risk to my privacy?

Using Fingerprints to identify individuals may have been associated with law enforcement applications in the past.     However, in domestic and commercial applications, your Fingerprint image is used to find the pattern of significant points and then it is deleted.     Your Fingerprint is never stored and thus cannot be used for any other purpose.

A special algorithm is used to convert each person’s pattern of significant points into a data string which is then encrypted.     This is what is stored when you register each finger.   It cannot be reverse engineered back to your original Fingerprint image and only has meaning to the system you registered on.

Due to the mass variety of fingerprint products on the market worldwide (from many different suppliers) the chances of cross information sharing is low.

You cannot use data from different brands of fingerprint readers and expect it to work on someone else’s device – not possible. This is due to variations in software, fingerprint algorithms, type of fingerprint sensor and the difference in technology.