Biometric device Applications & Challenges

Biometric device are a modern technology that is becoming increasingly popular in various industries, including security, healthcare, and finance. These devices use unique biological characteristics of an individual to verify their identity. In this article, we will explore the concept of biometric devices, their types, and their applications in various industries.

What is a Biometric Device?

A biometric device is a type of electronic device that uses unique biological characteristics to verify the identity of an individual. These characteristics can include fingerprints, iris recognition, voice recognition, facial recognition, and even DNA. The device scans and captures the biological data of the individual, which is then compared with the stored database to authenticate their identity.


All biometric systems consist of three basic elements:

Enrollment, or the process of collecting biometric samples from an individual, known as the enrollee, and the subsequent generation of his template.

Templates, or the data representing the enrollee’s biometric.

Matching, or the process of comparing a live biometric sample against one or many templates in the system’s database.


Enrollment is the crucial first stage for biometric authentication because enrollment generates a template that will be used for all subsequent matching. Typically, the device takes three samples of the same biometric and averages them to produce an enrollment template. Enrollment is complicated by the dependence of the performance of many biometric systems on the users; familiarity with the biometric device because enrollment is usually the first time the user is exposed to the device. Environmental conditions also affect enrollment. Enrollment should take place under conditions similar to those expected during the routine matching process. For example, if voice verification is used in an environment where there is background noise, the system;s ability to match voices to enrolled templates depends on capturing these templates in the same environment. In addition to user and environmental issues, biometrics themselves change over time. Many biometric systems account for these changes by continuously averaging. Templates are averaged and updated each time the user attempts authentication.


As the data representing the enrollments biometric, the biometric device creates templates. The device uses a proprietary algorithm to extract features appropriate to that biometric from the enrollee’s samples. Templates are only a record of distinguishing features, sometimes called minutiae points, of a person’s biometric characteristic or trait. For example, templates are not an image or record of the actual fingerprint or voice. In basic terms, templates are numerical representations of key points taken from a person’s body. The template is usually small in terms of computer memory use, and this allows for quick processing, which is a hallmark of biometric authentication. The template must be stored somewhere so that subsequent templates, created when a user tries to access the system using a sensor, can be compared. Some biometric experts claim it is impossible to reverse-engineer, or recreate, a person’s print or image from the biometric template.



Matching is the comparison of two templates, the template produced at the time of enrollment (or at previous sessions, if there is continuous updating) with the one produced on the spot as a user tries to gain access by providing a biometric via a sensor. There are three ways a match can fail:

Failure to enroll.

False match.

False nonmatch.

Failure to enroll (or acquire) is the failure of the technology to extract distinguishing features appropriate to that technology. For example, a small percentage of the population fails to enroll in fingerprint-based biometric authentication systems. Two reasons account for this failure: the individual;s fingerprints are not distinctive enough to be picked up by the system, or the distinguishing characteristics of the individual;s fingerprints have been altered because of the individual;s age or occupation, e.g., an elderly bricklayer. In addition, the possibility of a false match (FM) or a false nonmatch (FNM) exists. These two terms are frequently misnomered false acceptance; and false rejection,respectively, but these terms are application-dependent in meaning. FM and FNM are application-neutral terms to describe the matching process between a live sample and a biometric template. A false match occurs when a sample is incorrectly matched to a template in the database (i.e., an imposter is accepted). A false non-match occurs when a sample is incorrectly not matched to a truly matching template in the database (i.e., a legitimate match is denied). Rates for FM and FNM are calculated and used to make tradeoffs between security and convenience. For example, a heavy security emphasis errs on the side of denying legitimate matches and does not tolerate acceptance of imposters. A heavy emphasis on user convenience results in little tolerance for denying legitimate matches but will tolerate some acceptance of imposters.

Types of Biometric Devices

There are several types of biometric devices available in the market today, each with their own unique set of features and applications. Some of the most common types of biometric devices include:

Fingerprint Scanners: Fingerprint scanners are one of the most popular types of biometric devices. They use an individual’s fingerprint to authenticate their identity, making them highly secure and accurate.

Iris Scanners: Iris scanners use an individual’s unique iris pattern to authenticate their identity. They are highly accurate and secure, making them ideal for high-security environments.

Facial Recognition Systems: Facial recognition systems use an individual’s unique facial features to authenticate their identity. They are commonly used in security systems, law enforcement, and even in mobile devices.

Voice Recognition Systems: Voice recognition systems use an individual’s unique voice pattern to authenticate their identity. They are commonly used in call centers and customer service applications.

Applications of Biometric Devices

Biometric devices have a wide range of applications in various industries. Some of the most common applications of biometric devices include:

Security: Biometric devices are commonly used in security systems to restrict access to sensitive areas. They are used in airports, banks, government offices, and other high-security environments to authenticate the identity of individuals.

Healthcare: Biometric devices are also used in the healthcare industry to authenticate the identity of patients and to maintain accurate medical records. They are used in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities to prevent medical identity theft.

Finance: Biometric devices are increasingly being used in the financial industry to authenticate the identity of customers. They are used in ATMs, mobile banking apps, and other financial services to prevent fraud and identity theft.

Time and Attendance: Biometric devices are also used in time and biometric attendance system to record employee attendance. They are used in offices, factories, and other workplaces to ensure accurate payroll processing and prevent time theft.

Challenges of Biometric Devices

While biometric devices have several advantages, there are also some challenges associated with their implementation. Some of the key challenges include:

Cost: Biometric devices can be expensive to implement, especially for small businesses. The cost of hardware, software, and maintenance can be a significant barrier for some businesses.

Privacy Concerns: Biometric devices involve the collection and storage of sensitive personal information, such as fingerprints and facial recognition data. This can raise privacy concerns among individuals, especially in countries with strict data protection laws.

Technical Issues: Biometric devices can experience technical issues, such as system downtime and sensor malfunctions. This can result in inaccurate authentication and other problems.

Biometric devices are a modern technology that has the potential to transform various industries. They are highly accurate, secure, and efficient, making them ideal for applications such as security, healthcare, finance, and time and attendance. While there are some challenges associated with their implementation, the benefits of biometric devices far outweigh the drawbacks. As such, we can expect to see biometric devices becoming even more prevalent in the coming years.




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