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Council for Scientific and Industrial Research develops contactless fingerprinting device


The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed a new contactless fingerprinting sensing device that uses high-speed and large-volume optical coherence tomography (OCT), according to a report by IT Web.

OCT is a medical imaging technique that leverages light to capture micrometer-resolution, three-dimensional images from within optical scattering media.

The device, which is funded by the Department of Science and Technology, can be used in the field of law enforcement and forensics.

“It is important to note that the light source of the OCT does not destroy DNA when extracting the latent fingerprints,” said Ann Singh, CSIR laser scientist responsible for OCT. “The differentiating factor of our technology is that the CSIR team has enabled higher-resolution fingerprint acquisition by capturing more substrates of live or latent fingerprints (seen and unseen fingerprints left at crime scenes). The result is a significantly more accurate and tamper-proof fingerprint representation.”

Rethabile Khutlang, senior biometrics research engineer at CSIR, said the contactless nature of OCT enables it to collect latent fingerprints without eliminating any useful DNA material for the purpose of forensics.

Other benefits include the ability to detect sweat glands and whether the scanned subject is dead or alive.

Using the OCT device, crime scene specialists can scan areas and collect fingerprints without the use of dusting, which could lead to contamination.

“This solves the problem of elastic distortion in conventional ‘slap’ scan fingerprint acquisition devices, which is caused by the pressure of a finger on a surface,” said Luke Darlow, a biometrics and image processing researcher at CSIR. “Since it is contactless, it is also hygienic and residual fingerprints are not left on a scanner surface. In addition, unlike current technology, it is not influenced by moisture conditions or skin damage.

“The CSIR OCT system is capable of acquiring both external and internal fingerprints. Combining these allows for a hybrid fingerprint that results in better biometric performance. The acquisition of such detailed fingerprints means that fake prints can be easily detected.”

In addition to biometrics, OCT technology can also be used in fields such as dermatology, ophthalmology, and polymer characterization.

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