Ultrasound Fingerprint Recognition

Abstract:

For the past two and a half years, the world has become acutely aware of a wide range of security issues and concerns. The question of how potential security breaches can impact our day-to-day lives has been answered in dramatic and heretofore unprecedented fashion by the 9-11 tragedy. The biometrics industry has developed several different approaches to address the problem of security breaches. Each approach uses some aspect of an individual's physical or behavioral attributes as a means of authenticating the individual's identity.
The most pervasive biometric in use today is fingerprinting, a physical biometric. Other examples of physical biometrics include hand geometry, iris scans and facial recognition. Examples of behavioral biometrics include signature, key-stroke and gait recognition. Each biometric technology has enjoyed some degree of success for specific applications, yet the biometrics market, as a whole, has exhibited growth that is significantly slower than anticipated, given the existing market environment.
The advent of Ultrasound Scanning Technology has the greatest potential to overcome the inhibitors to market growth, offering the most comprehensive biometric solution to ongoing security and identification breaches. It has the ability to capture, process and regenerate fingerprint images at optimal resolutions without the significant shortcomings that have plagued alternative biometrics technologies.

Problem Statement:

As indicated above, the biometrics market growth has been extremely disappointing, given the heightened security awareness and prevailing environment following the 9_11 tragedy. Several inhibitors to market growth have been identified, including:

  • Lack of any single, dominant technology / product solution
  • Failure of any existing biometric solution to provide user enrollment at or near 100%
  • Susceptibility of existing biometric technologies to performance degradation from normal contaminants
  • Significant concessions, or trade-offs, must be made in False Acceptance Rate or False Rejection Rate, depending on the nature of the application
  • Vulnerability of existing biometric technologies to deception by fraudulent (fake) entry and/or enrollments.
  • Lack of industry standardization for performance testing and interoperability.
  • Ease of use, social issues, etc.

Needless to say, the biometrics industry is in flux.

Solution Overview:

A solid state, chip-based (3-8cm diameter, few mm thick) fingerprint reader employing ultrasound as a primary scanning medium that includes an embedded signal analysis and processing capability to provide an end-to-end fingerprint capture, processing, and image reproduction.
This "chip-based" fingerprint scanning device can easily be integrated into small form-factor digital devices such as cell phones and PDAs, as well as other common electrical devices and appliances, such as instrument panels, keyboards, touch-screens, etc. It can even be easily integrated into other devices, such as door knobs and handles for homes, offices, and automobiles, or small arms and other weapons to enhance firearm safety and control.
The embedded signal analysis and processing technology allows the device to capture and resolve an accurate image of an individual's fingerprint, easily scanning through common contaminates such as dirt, ink, oil, water and even paint. Moreover, it even differentiates between the outer 'dead' layer of skin and the inner 'live' layer of skin, enabling the device to capture the true image of a fingerprint, overcoming obstacles posed by occupational hazards, such as chemical burns, calloused skin abrasions, etc.
This provides the use with an unprecedented level of performance, in terms of accuracy and reliability, as well as the ability to enroll user populations statistically approaching 100%. Furthermore, its inherent capability to differentiate between live and dead skin is only one of the features used to prevent fraudulent attempts to deceive the system via fake/synthetic fingerprints.

Summary of Benefits:

Higher scanning accuracy and image resolution than conventional optical and capacitive resistance technologies
Greater consistency and reliability in image capture and resolution, surpassing that of most other biometric technologies.
Cost efficiencies in the design, development, and production in Poland
Technical approach facilitates the growth of product capabilities into multiple market segments, encompassing the full range of fingerprint scanning products, and more...
Core design has an innate multi-modal biometric capability, allowing the incorporation of as many as five discrete biometrics, requiring only moderate design changes.

Features:

Solid-state, cost-effective design - capable of achieving cost efficiencies currently being realized by capacitive resistance fingerprint scanning devices.
Chip-based biometric fingerprint scanning takes full advantage of capabilities inherent with Ultrasound technology.
Fingerprint image capture and reconstruction based on innovative (patented) ultrasonic holography techniques. Provides high detail, high resolution image generation / reconstruction, and allows for a smaller template model; requiring less storage space.

Market Potential/Applications:

Security

  • Physical (Facility) access control
  • Logical (PC, Network, etc.) access control
  • Financial sector - Transaction verification: ATMs, Credit Cards, etc
  • Health sector - Identity verification/authentication for patients, newborns, indigents, forensics, etc.
  • Private & Civil sector - Identity verification/authentication for employees, interviewees, etc.
  • Law Enforcement - Identity verification/authentication for forensic applications

Subject identification/authentication (public and private sector)

  • Penal system
  • Subject/detainee identification
  • Rapid identification of "high priority" subjects

Commercial applications:

  • keypad,
  • keyboard,
  • graphics input devices, et al.

Authenticates individual's identity in real time, as the individual is inputting data into the device ... far-reaching applications ranging from residential & commercial security (keys/keypads) through prevention of high technology espionage/subversion.
Its ability to capture 'passive' input from counter-tops, table/desk surfaces, door handles, et al, provides many of the same benefits of facial recognition biometrics.
The ability to activate weapons/firearms only upon positive subject identity verification can also be a passive mechanism, embedded in the weapon's handle. This allows for the unobtrusive reading the subject's finger and/or palm prints from the weapon handle while in the normal 'firing' position. Multi-modal inputs may allow for the verification of subject identity in a time span that approaches real-time.

Key Advantage: Avoids controversy of gun control and dangers associated with child operation of a firearm.

Note: This is merely the tip of the iceberg... the potential opportunities may actually redefine whole markets/market segments...

Development Stage/IP Status:

Multiple US Patents dating back to 1989
8 months to pre-production prototype build
$800,000 required for prototype