Fingerprint Identification

Among all the biometric techniques, fingerprint-based identification is the oldest method which has been successfully used in numerous applications. Everyone is known to have unique, immutable fingerprints. A fingerprint is made of a series of ridges and furrows on the surface of the finger. The uniqueness of a fingerprint can be determined by the pattern of ridges and furrows as well as the minutiae points. Minutiae points are local ridge characteristics that occur at either a ridge bifurcation or a ridge ending.

Fingerprint matching techniques can be placed into two categories: minutae-based and correlation based. Minutiae-based techniques first find minutiae points and then map their relative placement on the finger. However, there are some difficulties when using this approach. It is difficult to extract the minutiae points accurately when the fingerprint is of low quality. Also this method does not take into account the global pattern of ridges and furrows. The correlation-based method is able to overcome some of the difficulties of the minutiae-based approach. However, it has some of its own shortcomings. Correlation-based techniques require the precise location of a registration point and are affected by image translation and rotation.

Fingerprint matching based on minutiae has problems in matching different sized (unregistered) minutiae patterns. Local ridge structures can not be completely characterized by minutiae. We are trying an alternate representation of fingerprints which will capture more local information and yield a fixed length code for the fingerprint. The matching will then hopefully become a relatively simple task of calculating the Euclidean distance will between the two codes.