Multi-Modal Month – Week One: The Primer

We are undergoing some big changes here at findBIOMETRICS, and to celebrate June will be Multi-Modal Month. Not just focusing on solutions that leverage multiple types of biometric technology, this month’s theme will be a broad look at the staggering diversity of technology covered under the umbrella of “biometrics,” as well as some of the challenges facing the industry as a whole.

Biometrics boil down to a simple idea that can be applied to a multitude of situations. That idea is that no two people are perfectly similar and this uniqueness can be measured. The following list of articles will give you a good idea of how many different physical features. Let’s take a look at what we’ll be talk about as we talk about biometrics.


The fingerprint has been unanimous with unique identity since 1788 when a German anatomist by the name of Johann Christoph Andreas Mayer first recognized that the ridges on the tips of everyone’s digits are naturally different. Today we take advantage of this fact for anything from access control, to authorizing PayPal transactions with a smartphone.

Here are some articles examining the various places we find fingerprint biometrics keeping us safe and saving us time:

Biometrics Versus Amusement Park Ticket Fraud

DigitalPersona Fingerprint Biometrics to Be Deployed in China Fashion Retailer Locations

MorphoTrak Partners With Identity One, Brings Biometric Access To Railroads

Suprema Readers Deployed For Ugandan Biometric Voter ID

VIDEO: Zwipe Biometric Access Card Demonstrated at ISC West

Apple Opens Touch ID to App Developers


If iris biometrics feel futuristic, it’s probably because this high tech sounding identification method has been a staple of science fiction, notably featured in Demolition Man, Minority Report, The Simpsons Movie and the James Bond film Never Say Never Again. Don’t let the media’s fantastical fascination fool you though, iris recognition is real and extremely useful in population management, time and attendance and access control. There are even persistent rumors that it’s being eyed for an upcoming smartphone.

Check out some articles about real life applications of this futuristic sounding technology:

Samsung Considering Iris Biometrics on Future Smartphones

SRI and emaratech Bring Iris Biometrics to United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Oman

Biometrics Against Child Abduction: M2SYS Announces KinderGuardian

Interview with James Hammond, Associate Vice President for Information Technology Winthrop University


Facial recognition is interesting because it is among the most intuitively understandable modes of biometric identification. There are few features of the human body that tie us to our identities as strongly as our face. It’s right in the name of Facebook, mugshots are still an integral aspect of law enforcement, and it has become an important feature of our language: when we want to describe the act of hiding one’s identity we invoke the word “mask.”

Thanks to the proliferation of digital cameras and the availabilty of facial recognition software, face biometrics are finding unique applications in marketing and mobility as well as the expected access control deployments.

Face Recognition and Big Data Analysis Bringing Efficiency To Law Enforcement

Cognitec Upgrades FaceVACS-Video Scan Biometric Video Screening Technology

Unisys Chosen By Her Majesty’s Passport Office For Facial Recognition

Facial Biometrics Replacing Passwords in Online Learning


Voice recognition is another biometric technology finding an increasing amount of traction thanks to the hardwares we carry around with us everyday. Our voices have been the primary method of communication since the very first grunts that developed into language, and just like the other features on this list, the sounds we make are unique to us. As different as each voice biometric deployment is, one thing they have in common is a convenience of familiarity.

Here are some articles and interviews illustrating how natural it feels to authenticate by talking.

Nuance Brings Voice Biometric Protection to Phone Banking in Mexico

VoiceVault Introduces ViGo Mobile Voice Biometric Platform

Invisibility: The Place of Voice Biometrics In the Mobile Landscape

Anti-Spoofing is a Key Feature in AGNITiO’s New KIVOX 4.1

Pop Cultural Identity Management: Her


Vein or vascular biometrics measure the unique pattern made by the blood-carrying conduits underneath your skin. If it sounds secure, that’s because it is. As you might imagine, vein-based biometric solutions are incredibly difficult to spoof simply by virtue of the fact that a healthy human isn’t leaving their vascular patterns on things they touch, or posting them online in morbid selfies.

The articles here will give you an idea of how and where palm-vein and eyeprint (eye vein pattern) biometrics work best.

Eyeprints To Protect Mobile Banking Transactions

The Future of Palm Reading: Fujitsu Continues To Champion Palm Vein Biometrics

Palm Vein Biometric Patient Management Making a Strong Case at Healthcare Exhibition

Biometric Payments: PulseWallet Chooses Fujitsu’s Palm-Vein Technology for Point of Sale Transaction Terminals


Sometimes biometrics measure how you act instead of how you look. Relatively young, these types of biometric solutions are passive, looking for signs that someone (or something) is trying to impersonate you.

The Biometric Social Network and Keystroke Authentication

Biometric Solution From BioCatch Protects eCommerce Websites From Fraud

As Unique as You Are

As usual, nothing quite illustrates the big picture of a concept like interviews with the professionals behind this technology. So much diversity born of a simple idea. Here are some findBIOMETRICS interviews that touch on the big picture of biometrics:

Mobility Rules: An Interview With BIO-key and IDEX

Interview with Mohammed Murad, Vice President of Iris ID Systems Inc.

Interview With Teresa Wu, Managing Global Biometric System Portfolio Marketing Director for 3M Cogent, Inc.

Aware Introduces The New Nexa Family of Biometric SDKs – Interview With David Benini, VP Marketing, Aware, Inc.

Peter O’Neill of findBIOMETRICS interviews Toby Rush, CEO, EyeVerify

Interview With Alexey Khitrov, President, Speechpro


Stick with us throughout the month of June as we dive deeper into this topic. Have something to contribute to this discussion? Follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #fBMultiModal to keep the conversation going all month.

June 4, 2013 – by Peter B. Counter