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Scientists unveil internal fingerprint system with commercial prospects


Scientists at The Langevin Institute in Paris have published a report unveiling a new system that captures an image under the surface of the skin, and promises an identification method which is not only more reliable and more secure, but also more simple, fast, and cheap than other methods of interior imaging.

The device captures “internal fingerprints” from half a millimeter under the skin’s surface using a version of optical coherence tomography (OCT), which measures the interference pattern created with a beam of light, and is currently used in medical imaging. It can also image sweat pores as a means of identification.

“In the past years, the use of fingerprint sensors has expanded greatly beyond the field of forensics. Far from just being used for border security or passport registration, current uses of these sensors allows access to mobile phones, computers and even gym facilities,” said Egidijus Auksorius, postdoctoral researcher, The Langevin Institute.

Auksorius and Professor Claude Boccara published a report on their system in the journal Biomedical Optics Express, from The Optical Society. Auksorius points out that among the limitations of traditional methods of fingerprint identification, up to five percent of the population have fingerprints which present challenges to traditional fingerprint identification due to changes caused by age or injury. As previously reported, fingerprint devices can also be fooled intentionally.

The new system involves an initial image taken at an angle to gauge the depth of the second image, which directly provides a full-field OCT 2D image of the fingerprint at an estimated price for a forthcoming model of $10,000, far less than the cost of the sophisticated lasers and sensors in standard 3D OCT systems, Phys.org reports.

“We showed that the internal fingerprints could be imaged with a relatively simple and inexpensive system,” Auksorius said. “Furthermore, recent results with the new camera show that the system can potentially be a commercially viable solution.”

As previously reported, Canadian researchers have also developed a 3D alternative to traditional fingerprint imaging.

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