Farpoint Group Technical Note — November 2008
Fingerprint Recognition: Technology and Implementation for Mobile Phones
Fingerprint recognition has come a long way from the days of crime-lab examiners using hand-held magnifying glasses to explore smudged prints lifted under field conditions. Solid-state capacitive CMOS sensors found in many laptops today provide a high degree of accuracy, with the bulk of the recognition process done by matching algorithms coded into hardware or specialized embedded software. Algo- rithms in the processing chain (see Figure 2) examine fingerprint minutiae, which contain the details specific to a given individual. Industry standards specify fingerprint minutia file formats so that fingerprint components and solutions can properly interoperate.
Template Formatting and Crypto
Figure 2: While fingerprint recognition can be technically complex, the required processing can today be easily embedded in VLSI-based implementations. The algorithms and data required also have a small computational footprint, simplifying handset-based designs. Source: Atrua Technologies.
Features required for a fingerprint product well-suited to mobile handsets include:
Accuracy – The implementation should be able to achieve a false acceptance rate of 0.01% or lower, and work in a broad range of devices and environments.
Security – All biometric information and other private information stored in the phone’s memory must be protected from unauthorized access. Integration with SIM cards and other handset se- curity features is desirable.
Low power consumption – Low current consumption in both standby and active imaging modes is required in order to minimize drain on the always-limited battery charge.
Small form factor – There isn’t much space available on a handset, so sensor real estate must be minimized. Scanners (reading the swipe of a finger) are therefore the preferred approach here.
Highly integrated – Effective designs require only a small number of external components to
assure that solution cost and physical size are minimal.
Fingerprint Recognition and Mobile Security