Many of our customers ask about the latest generation of fingerprint gun safes, locks, and access control systems . To many people it seems impossible that no two fingerprints are identical and that a security device could use a fingerprint instead of a key or combination lock.
The first question is easy to answer as, two people cannot have the same fingerprints. So far as forensic science has been able to determine, not even identical twins have exactly matched fingerprints.
To answer the second question we need to look at how fingerprints are recorded and then how the details of the fingerprint are analyzed. A fingerprint is an impression left by the friction ridges of a human finger. Fingerprint identification involves an expert computer system determining whether two friction ridge impressions are likely to have originated from the same finger.
Classification systems are used to categorize fingerprints based on general ridge formations,such as the presence or absence of circular patterns on various fingers. The fingerprint patterns: loop, whorl, and arch form the foundation of fingerprint recognition. A fingerprint sensor is an electronic device used to capture a digital image of the fingerprint pattern. The captured image is called a live scan. This live scan is digitally processed to create a biometric template (a collection of extracted features) which is stored and used for matching.
The scanner system software uses highly complex algorithms to recognize and analyze these extracted features. The basic idea is to measure the relative positions of features, in the same sort of way you might recognize a part of the sky by the relative positions of stars. If the scanner software determines that the features of the finger being scanned match a stored (authorized) fingerprint then the electronic lock is opened.
Yes, a fingerprint (biometric) lock may be fooled with a substantial effort, but even with this drawback, fingerprint scanners are an excellent means of identification.