Researchers at The Langevin Institute in Paris are working on an advanced fingerprint imaging system that can determine the “internal fingerprint” upon which a user’s surface print is based. In a paper published in the Biomedical Optics Express journal, they assert that their system is faster and more accurate than standard fingerprint sensors, which only capture the surface level of a user’s fingerprint and are susceptible to spoofing.
The researchers’ technology relies on optical coherence tomography, or OCT, which revolves around the analysis of interference patterns that emerge when light is reflected upon a rough surface. This technology was modified by the researchers into a system they call full-field OCT, which compares 2D images of fingerprints from head-on and from an angle in order to determine depth, resulting in something like a 3D fingerprint map.
Inasmuch as it seeks to get beyond the 2D surface fingerprint imaging that so many current sensors rely upon, the FF-OCT system is similar to emerging ultrasonic 3D imaging systems that are starting to emerge from other academic researchers as well as market-driven technology developers such as Qualcomm and Sonavation. But FF-OCT has its own drawbacks: As The Optical Society notes, right now the researchers’ system is about the size of a shoebox, and their prototype features a $40,000 infrared camera; so it’s not likely to see any mobile integrations anytime soon. But the researchers are seeking to make it smaller and cheaper, and believe that it could find a market niche in areas where problematic fingerprints, such as those that are worn down over time from manual labor, require a fast and secure scanning solution.
Source: The Optical Society
October 22, 2015 – by Alex Perala