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Saturday, August 3, 2019

What is Biometric Sensors? Why Biometrics are used?

A Biometric Sensor is a device (or a transducer, to be specific) that converts the biometric trait of an individual into electrical signals. Biometric Sensors are usually semiconductor devices that processes images from an individual’s physical characteristics using complex algorithms.

Many physical characteristics of a person like face, iris, fingerprints, etc. are scanned by a Biometric Sensor and are converted to a digital image using an Analog – to – Digital Converter.

This digital information of the person is stored in a memory and is used to verify or authenticate his/her identity.

We have seen about sensors and Different Types of Sensors in previous tutorials. Biometric Sensors are becoming increasingly important and useful as they are more effective, accurate and provide more security.

Most modern smart phones (at the time of writing this tutorial) include at least a Fingerprint Sensor to authenticate the user while some high-end phones provide additional Biometric Sensors like Iris Scanners and Facial Recognition Technology.

Why Biometrics are used?

Passwords, PINs, Smart Keys, Smart Cards, etc. are generally used to authenticate people and allow them access to both physical as well as digital domains. But the problems with this type of authentication is that passwords and PINs can be easily forgotten (or hard to remember) or can be stolen; smart keys and tokens can be easily misplaced, duplicated or forgotten; smart cards with magnetic strips can be easily corrupted.

But a person’s biometrics or biological traits cannot be stolen, forgotten or misplaced and hence they provide a much better, secure and reliable way to authenticate an individual when compared to the traditional methods.

Some of the commonly used Biometrics are fingerprints, iris, face, geometry of hand, speech, gait, signature and keystroke.

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