Protective Patterns

New innovations in biometrics manage access control and staff attendance.

September 10, 2010
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Biometrics have existed since innovative crime stoppers in the 19th century figured out that fingerprints could be used to identify criminals, no matter what aliases they used or how many years had passed since they committed a crime.

Even as computers and other advanced technologies have created such biometric measures as retinal scans—and now, hand geometry—fingerprints remain the staple measure of biometric identity authentication for most financial institutions.

“Our applications, called FingerKey, HandKey, and HandPunch, address two concerns: access control and time and attendance,” says Vijay Kumar, senior portfolio marketing manager at Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. “Credit unions often use HandKey and FingerKey to control member access to safe deposit boxes, rather than go to the time and expense of having an employee accompany a member. The credit union can supplement the hand image or fingerprint scan with a personal identification number request.”

For employees, HandPunch tracks actual time on the job. “In situations where state laws or labor contracts call for employees to take a break, HandPunch won’t allow employees back on the job until the stipulated break time is over. This helps both employees and the credit union avoid misunderstandings or mistaken claims.”

Kumar says error rates with fingerprints generally are higher than with hand geometry, which takes a three-dimensional measurement of the hand to create a complex algorithm that’s hard to duplicate.

He adds, “No, you can’t spoof a hand reader like they do in the movies by cutting off somebody’s hand to present to the reader. The loss of blood would change the shape and proportions of the hand so that the reader would not recognize it.”

Kumar says the system also is self-updating. “An example would be a pregnant woman whose hand shape changes over the course of her pregnancy. The system notes minor changes and updates the image of her hand as it goes along.”

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