Sensors in Biometric Fingerprint Access Device
They’re on our phones, our computers, our homes, and in our cars. They’ve quietly snuck into the deep corners and crevices of our daily lives, transforming into a microcosm of the tech world with an ever-growing push towards disseminating biometrics to the masses.
Despite their growing prevalence in today’s tech-savvy generation, they still have an air of mystery to them – and it’s not intentional.
Since our biometric devices rely heavily on the high caliber of precision and understanding that goes into creating a fingerprint sensor, we wanted to dedicate an article to explain each of the sensors we offer, how they work, and why it matters.
The Basics of Biometric Access Control
Fingerprint sensors have two functions. The first is to take an image of a fingerprint and convert it into a template using a unique algorithm. The second is to match that template to a recorded template in a database. There are two ways they can do this: optical scanning or capacitance scanning.
Optical sensors use LED light and a camera to generate images. When you place your finger on the glass plate, the LED light flashes and the internal camera takes an image of the valleys and ridges of your finger. Capacitance sensors essentially do the same thing, but instead of sensing a fingerprint using light they use an electric current.
Both sensors have their advantages depending on their uses which we will explain in this article.
Invixium uses 3 different sensors: SecuGen’s optical sensor, NEXT Biometrics’ capacitance sensor, and Lumidigm’s rugged optical sensor. Each will be covered in detail within their respective section.
Sensor Interoperability in Biometric Devices
It’s most likely a term you’ve never heard before, but we can’t stress the importance of it enough.
Sensor interoperability is the ability of all 3 of our sensors to communicate with each other and exchange and make use of information when installed on the same network. If you were to install all 4 of our products on a network, users would be able to enroll on one device and instantly be able to authenticate on any other device on the network. It eliminates the need to enroll users on each device.
This is a feature that no other biometric solution offers, and we’ve pushed our R&D team past their limits to make it possible. Sensor interoperability will inevitably make installers’ lives easier and save system integrators’ infinite hours of precious time. Knowing this, you won’t have to worry about installing different Invixium devices on one network as they are guaranteed to work together seamlessly.
SecuGen Optical Sensor in a Biometric Device
The SecuGen sensor uses optical scanning to capture fingerprints. It produces high quality images for greater precision and less false rejections and acceptances. The sensor is resistant to scratches, corrosion, and other stresses which can be wiped clean without fear of damage.
NEXT Biometrics Thermal Sensor
The NEXT Biometrics sensor is a capacitance scanner which uses an electric current to collect data and create an image. Thanks to this, it’s tolerant against dirt, grease, and other varying environmental conditions. This particular sensor was used specifically for the MERGE because it’s razor slim design and reliable performance allowed for placement flush to the surface of the device without the need for a cavity.
Optical sensors require a cavity in the body of the device in order to block any ambient light from entering the sensing area. Just like a camera lens gets obstructed when taking a picture near a bright light source, the same applies to optical sensors. This makes a cavity a necessity when designing an optical biometric fingerprint scanner.
With a capacitance sensor, a cavity is not required since they use electrical currents to generate images. This allows for the design of the MERGE to stay sleek and slender without having to worry about incorporating a cavity into the device.
The NEXT Biometrics thermal sensor is available only on the MERGE. While all of our devices are IP65-rated to protect against dust and water ingress, the MERGE is recommended for indoor uses such as inside smart homes, offices, and small to medium businesses.
Lumidigm Multispectral Sensor
The Lumidigm sensor is an optical sensor which we recommend for all outdoor environments, especially where users will come across harsh and dirty environmental conditions and for installations where the user population has problematic fingers due to age, genetics or other environmental conditions. The Lumidigm sensor differs from the SecuGen sensor because of what the camera captures an image of.
Rather than capturing an image of the surface of the finger, the Lumidigm sensor uses multispectral imaging to read the fingerprints deep into the subsurface of the epidermis beyond the surface layer of the skin. Thanks to this technology, dirt, water, cuts, and problematic fingers will not stand in the way of users being able to authenticate, hence why it’s an ideal option for harsh environments.
As biometrics become a necessity for security enhancements and personal identification, their role in our day-to-day lives will continue to evolve in ways that shape them into more of a requirement, rather than a luxury. Hopefully this article has shed some light on the technology behind sensors and will give you more appreciation for the unsaid hero that lives inside your cellphone and quietly protects your data – every day.
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