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635769619056968146-FED-fingerprint-scan-2The NIST is working on contactless fingerprint security. The U.S. National Institute of Technology is looking out to a time when you won’t even have to press your finger onto a grimy fingerprint reader to gain entry to a computer. NIST has funded a number of companies to make touchless fingerprint readers possible, and is creating a framework for evaluating possible technologies for widespread use.

The touch-free technology allows authentication to be done with a faster speed, thereby saving time and also giving importance to hygiene when compared the normal biometric devices. A situation whereby there is long queue to pass through biometric fingerprint sensor, all you have to do is wave your hands, instead of touching the sensor. It is easy and time saving.
The aim of the project is to produce open testing methods, metrics, and artifacts that will support future certification of these types of [biometric] devices for inclusion on Government Certified Products Lists.
The ‘fast-capture non-contact’ devices as NIST calls it, is actually undergoing several testings after many prototypes of the sensors developed by various developers were submitted to NIST but NIST is still facing some issues regarding this, one of the issue is that being the biggest challenge is that this new technology produces images that are fundamentally different from existing images as said by Michael Garris, NIST biometrics senior scientist.
Research and development (R&D) of such an intense technology would not be a task of one man’s army. Therefore, NIST is funding various organizations for their support in overcoming the challenges they are facing as well as manufacturing of the devices. NIST has also started a program called Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) where organizations and developers can participate to make this technology a reality.

According to NIST,  Conventional fingerprint sensors require a person to touch the device platen or sensor. Disadvantages to this mode of acquisition include the time required to collect (particularly rolled)prints as well as hygiene concerns. The government has funded research for the development of fast-capture non-contact tenprint collection devices for over a decade. Viable solutions have proven difficult, and very few devices have made their way out the laboratory to market. NIST has been conducting standards and testing methodology research in order to support the entry of contactless fingerprint capture devices into the marketplace.

Images produced by a contactless device are fundamentally different from conventional scanned ink and livescan fingerprints. They differ in both distortion characteristics and image sensor characteristics. New pathways for device certification must be developed for contactless fingerprinting, and these new contactless fingerprint images must be matchable to conventional fingerprints.

To this end, this project is addressing the following issues: data format standards, best practices, development of methods for certification testing, and interoperability assessment with legacy contact-based devices.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) known between 1901 and 1988 as the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), is a measurement standards laboratory, also known as a National Metrological Institute (NMI), which is a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. The institute’s official mission to is Promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

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