Creating 3D Hands to Increase Security
Biometrics researchers from Michigan State University have created a lifelike 3D hand model, complete with all fingerprints, to test the accuracy of fingerprint scanners. These scanners are commonly found at banks, police departments, airport immigration counters and even amusement parks.
The researchers, led by MSU professor Anil Jain, created the hand models using a high-resolution 3D printer, reproducing the ridges and valleys in real fingers.
MSU researchers demonstrate how a 3D printed model hand is used to
test a fingerprint scanner for accuracy. Courtesy of G.L. Kohuth.
"Like any optical device, fingerprint and hand scanners need to be calibrated, but currently there is no standard method for calibrating them," said Jain. "This is the first time a whole hand 3D target has been created to calibrate fingerprint scanners.”
While creating the 3D hand and testing the accuracy of scanners, he realized that potentially someone could do the same thing and steal a person’s identity, and perhaps “break into a vault.” This revelation caused him and his team to do more research and they are currently looking into spoof-resistant commercial fingerprint scanners.
“We have highlighted a security loophole and the limitations of existing fingerprint scanning technology. Now it's up to the scanner manufacturers to design a scanner that is spoof-resistant,” said Jain. “The burden is on them to tell whether the finger being placed on the scanner is real human skin or a printed material."
The study aims to design and develop standard models and procedures for consistent and reliable evaluation of fingerprint readers, and is funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
"We are very pleased with this research and how it is showing the uncertainties in the process and what it can mean for the accuracy of the readers," said Nicholas Paulter, group leader for the Security Technologies Group at NIST and a co-author of the study. "The FBI, CIA, military and manufacturers will all be interested in this project."
Along with Jain and Paulter, the study was co-authored by Sunpreet Arora, an MSU doctoral student. Their paper
received the best paper award at the 15th International Conference of Biometrics Special Interest Group, 2016.
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