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A fingerprint is an impression of the friction ridges of all or any part

of the finger. A friction ridge is a raised portion of the epidermis on the pal
mar (palm and fingers) or plantar (sole and toes) skin, consisting of one or
more connected ridge units of friction ridge skin. These ridges are
sometimes known as “dermal ridges “or “dermal papillae’.

Fingerprint may be deposited in natural secretions from the eccrine

glands present in friction ridge skin (secretions consisting primarily of
water) or they may be made by ink or other contaminants transferred from
the peaks of friction skin ridges to a relatively smooth surface such as a
fingerprint card. The term fingerprint normally refers to impressions
transferred from the pad on the last joint of fingers and thumbs, through
fingerprint cards also typically record portions of lower joint areas of the


Today fingerprint devices are by far the most popular form of

biometric security used, with a variety of systems on the market intended for
general and mass-market usage.
Long gone are the huge bulky fingerprint scanners; now a fingerprint-
scanning device can be small enough to be incorporated into a laptop for

An individual’s fingerprint is scanned to identify 10 to 26 unique

points of the finger, and a unique number is assigned to it. The original
fingerprint image is not saved, but the fingerprint algorithm is stored. It
cannot be used by law enforcement for future identification purposes.

The fingerprint is acquired from a fingerprint scanner.

Image is improved (better contrast and distinctness).

Noise and defects are eliminated.

Figure: 2.1 scanned finger print

Minutiae are identified.



Figure: 2.2 Analyzed fingerprint

Fingerprint features are detected and analyzed.

Fingerprint search on database is made based on some measures; so

polygons are determined connecting 3 minutiae. Thus, internal angles, sides
and each minutia angle are computed. These measures are invariant to
rotation and translation.

This method allows that a desired fingerprint can be localized on

database even with position variation (displacement and rotation) in relation
to the found fingerprint.

Desired fingerprint Found Fingerprint

Figure: 2.3 Fingerprint

Every fingerprint can be broken down into two basic features, called
ridges and valleys. By examining these characteristics; it is possible to
extract data from raw fingerprints and store it in a computer database for
future comparisons.
Images can be captured using one of several devices, including:
• Optical Scanners
• Thermal Scanners
• Capacitive (solid-state) Scanners


There are currently two accepted methods for extracting this data.
Minutia–based is the more microscopic of the two, locating ridge
branches and endings and assigning them and XY-coordinate that is then
stored in a file.
In the Correlation-based method looks the overall pattern of ridges
and valleys. Instead of looking for tiny minutia points, the locations of
whorls, loops and arches and the directions that they flow in are extracted
and stored.
Neither method actually keeps the captured image; only the data is
kept, therefore making it impossible to recreate the fingerprint. Both
methods have their drawbacks, though minutia-based comparison requires
that the fingerprint image be high quality, with dirt, water, scars and cuts
having a significant impact on proper identification.
On the other hand, correlation-based comparisons can be affected by
image translation and rotation.


The fingerprint requires one of the largest data templates in the

biometric field. The finger data template size can range anywhere from
several hundred bytes to over 1,000 bytes depending upon the levels of
security that is required and the method that is used to scan ones fingerprint.

The good news is that there are algorithms being developed that can
“enhance” images in order to reduce distortion and false data while
minimizing file size.


Fingerprint-based identification can be placed into two categories.

Minutiae-based matching

(Analyzing the local structure) and

Global pattern matching

(Analyzing the global structures).

Currently the computer aided fingerprint recognition is using the
minutiae-based matching. Minutiae points are local ridge characteristics and
appear as either a ridge ending or a ridge bifurcation.

The uniqueness of a fingerprint can be determined by the pattern of

the ridges and the valleys a fingerprint’s made of. A complete fingerprint
consists of about 100 minutiae points in average. The measured fingerprint
area consists in average of about 30-60 minutiae points depending on the
finger and on the sensor area. These minutiae points are represented by a
cloud of dots in a coordination system. They are stored together with the
angle of the tangent of a local minutiae point in a fingerprint-code or directly
in a reference template.

A template can consist of more than one fingerprint-code to expand

the amount of information and to expand the enrolled fingerprint area. In
general this leads to higher template quality and therefore to a higher
similarity value of the template and the sample.

The template size varies from 100 to 1500 bytes depending on the
algorithm and the quality of a fingerprint. Nevertheless, very rarely there are
fingerprints without any minutiae-points that leads to a failure to enroll
(FER=Failure to Enroll Rate).it is also difficult to extract the minutiae points
accurately when the fingerprint has got a low quality.


• Prevents unauthorized use or access

• Adds a higher level of security to an identification process
• Eliminates the burden and bulk of carrying ID cards or remembering
• Heightens overall confidence of business processes dependent on
personal identification.