Importance of Biometrics in the Digital Age
In the digital age, it is increasingly common to authenticate with biometrics, a technology that is in our daily lives, since we use it to unlock our smartphones, withdraw money from an ATM, go through an airport, get a visa or vote at the national or local elections and even to open the door of the house, go to work or the gym.
This technology is an automated system based on the recognition of a physical and non-transferable characteristic of people such as a fingerprint, iris, or face, and is a way of validating identity to prevent fraud; as well as to streamline processes and improve the user experience. With biometrics people do not have to worry if they forget their keys or identification cards, their passwords or codes.
What is biometrics?
Biometrics is an automated system, based on the recognition of the physical characteristics of certain parts of the body of people, which are unique and non-transferable, such as fingerprints, iris, or face, and is a way of validating identity to prevent fraud...
We share 5 things you should know about biometrics so that you know the benefits of this technology.
Types of biometrics
Biometrics is divided into three main categories of characteristics: biological, morphological, and behavioral. the biomedical engineer explains each one.
DNA: A part of an individual's body such as saliva, fingernails, hair, or blood, is collected by forensics and taken to laboratories for research and medicinal purposes.
The advantage of this type of technology is that it is a very precise identification method. However, DNA profiling requires a physical sample to collect biometric data.
Fingerprint recognition: this biometric method is the oldest and most efficient since fingerprints are unique. Like all other biometric technologies, it identifies and verifies a person's fingerprint with previously saved data. Today fingerprint recognition is widely used for mobile devices door locks and even for high-security access control. This secure technology is easy to set up and is the most established biometric modality. However, it suffers from superficial conditions such as wet or dirty fingers, scars, skin diseases, etc.
Facial Recognition – High-quality cameras exist with the ability to recognize subjects, making facial recognition suitable for security and surveillance applications as well. This technology is easy to set up and requires no additional hardware in today's computing devices and smartphones. However, it may fail to authenticate twins or may be open to tampering or fraudulent attacks.
Voice Recognition: Voice is a physiological trait that depends on the anatomy of the throat and mouth, as well as chronic components. The voice becomes a crucial biometric identifier that can be used to distinguish the speaker. Speech recognition allows users to interact with technologies simply by speaking, allowing users to set reminders, search, and perform other simple tasks. Some examples of voice recognition systems are virtual assistants like Alexa (Amazon), Siri, Google, and Cortana. However, these systems are very sensitive to background noise or language problems, this causes false input and causes the system to perform an action that we did not ask for.
Eye Pattern Recognition: This method focuses on the pattern formed by veins in the thick, outer, white membrane of the eyeball known as the sclera. Vein recognition works by an iris pattern in the human eye. The iris is the colored, circular membrane of the eye that separates the anterior chamber from the posterior chamber. Every human being has an iris color pattern; even the iris of the left and right eyes is different. The advantage of this type of technology is that it does not change as time goes by, the redness of the eyes or the consumption of alcohol. It also works for a person with glasses or contact lenses. However, very expensive tools are needed to guarantee a good result.
Gait Recognition: Gait is defined as the cyclical and coordinated combination of movements that result in human locomotion. We all identify a person simply by looking at the way they walk.
This unique feature, with the help of computer-based imaging and machine vision, becomes a biometric technology for pattern recognition that can map human gait.
This technology is used for the diagnosis of gait-related disorders. However, human recognition and identification systems are still new compared to other methods of biometric technologies that use voice, fingerprints, or faces. Therefore, it is not fully developed yet.
Why use biometric data?
We use biometrics in our daily lives every time we unlock the screen of a smartphone with facial recognition, ask Siri or Alexa a question with voice recognition; open our banking application, the door of the home or office with a fingerprint, or our iris.
When we travel from one country to another, migration control systems use this technology to speed up the process and identify people on blacklists. Likewise, in the streets and stadiums, we are watched by cameras with 3D biometric analysis, which have the capacity to register 20 faces per second and identify criminals.
In fact, governments are increasingly using biometrics to reduce security risks and reduce spoofing.
In medicine, biometrics can save lives, by offering better patient care and avoiding identity errors or cross-diagnoses with other patients that may put them at risk.