How a Fingerprint Reader Works

By: Donald Arson

Has this ever happened to you?? You haven't been to a website in a few weeks and you just can't remember the password and now you have to go back through your email and fish it out.? Or, do you do this major no no of? security?? Use the same username and password for every website and application you can.

It's time you tried a password storing finger print reader.? Basically all consumer finger print readers work the same; you install the software and connect the fingerprint device.? You then install the fingerprint reader into an available USB port, scan your finger (usually the right index finger), and now as you surf? the web the software will ask you if you want to store the user id and password associated with that site.

Now the fun part, once you visit that site again in the future all you need to do is place your finger on the reader and it fills in those pesky user id and password fields for you.? No need to ever forget or use the same password again.

So how does this all work??

Before we start it's good to know that this technology exists because we all have our own uniquely identifiable piece of information, our finger prints.? While our forerunners did not develop this adaptation for password protection, more for gripping and holding, it's a nice side effect.? Since each set of fingerprints in developed in its own way through thousands if not millions of environmental factors there is almost no chance that anyone has, has ever had or will ever had the same fingerprint as you; even if you are an identical twin.

So now the fingerprint reader just has to scan your finger and make sure all the ridges match, sounds easy right?? Well, it does take a quite of bit of technology to actually make it work.? First the scanner uses either an optical or capacitance scanner to take a "picture" of your finger using either light or electricity respectably.?

They then "read" if what it's looking at is a ridge or valley and uses your computers processing power to compare the captured fingerprint with the fingerprints on file, from setup, in your system.? They do this by using very complex algorithms and focusing in on the very fine parts of your actual fingerprint and comparing specific features called minutiae.?

The scanner doesn't take your whole fingerprint into account when making a match; it just has to find some parts that match both the minutiae and the record of your print on file.? Once the threshold of matches is reached voila you have access to that password protected page you wanted and you didn't even have to think about it.

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