Fingerprint authentication, which is also sometimes referred to as fingerprint recognition, is a method which verifies a person’s identity based on his or her fingerprints. Every human being has unique fingerprints, so it is possible to create an automated identification program using this biometric. Of course, in order to be able to identify someone based on his or her fingerprints, he or she must have provided fingerprints at an earlier point in time. Therefore, fingerprint authentication systems rely on a database containing scans of fingerprints and the identities to which they are connected.
The machine that matches fingerprints to a person’s identity is an electronic device called a fingerprint sensor. A fingerprint sensor takes a scan of a person’s finger, processes the print, and matches the biometrics of the print to the information that it has on file.
Fingerprint authentication is often used for security purposes. Protected rooms, for example, may use a security system that relies on a fingerprint system to ensure that only certain people can enter. There are some safes that rely on similar technology and will only open for a person with the stored fingerprint.
Sometimes fingerprint authentication is used when large numbers of people need to access the same entryway during the same period of time. Some large office buildings rely on fingerprint authentication. This allows many employees to enter the building at key points in the day, such as in the morning and after the lunch hour, without having to stop to present identification materials to a security officers. Walt Disney World also relies on this technology to make sure that only one person uses each ticket on a multi-day pass to the amusement park.
Fingerprint authentication is also important for criminal investigators. Fingerprints that are found at the scene of the crime can be analyzed against fingerprints that are on file in a police database. Positive fingerprint matches can help detectives identify the perpetrator of a crime even if there is little or no other evidence left behind.