Working in collaboration with the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), scientists at the University of Göttingen have developed a new procedure enabling the growth of fingerprints to be predicted. Up to now, BKA software has had difficulties in recognising that the fingerprints taken during adolescence and in adulthood were those of the same individual.
Fingerprint of a 12-year-old; specific features are marked in blue. Foto: Uni Göttingen
The same fingerprint at age 24; specific features are marked in red. Foto: Uni Göttingen
However, the error rate can be sharply reduced if the young person’s fingerprint is enlarged according to certain rules. These rules have now been determined by the researchers: the fingerprints of young persons grow evenly and in proportion to the person’s size. Their ‘pattern’ does not change significantly over the course of years. The results of the Biometrics Group at the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science are to be published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security.
The scientists began by investigating whether fingerprints grow in all directions evenly. “That was not completely clear from the outset, since human bones generally grow more strongly lengthwise, hence becoming narrower”, explains statistician Dr. Thomas Hotz. “But with the aid of special statistical procedures of so-called shape analysis we were able to demonstrate this.” It was then necessary to ascertain the factor by which a finger had increased in size: here it emerged that fingerprints of young people grow essentially in proportion to their body size. “We can therefore predict growth with the aid of growth tables for girls and boys”, says computer scientist Dr. Carsten Gottschlich.
Tested in practice, the methods turned out to be successful: the scientists were able to reduce the error rates of conventional fingerprint software markedly if the prints were previously enlarged by the corresponding factor. The BKA tested 48 fingerprints in a database of 3.25 million people. The software used up to now was able to assign the corresponding print of a young person in 38 cases and with the new method this was achieved in 47 cases – in one case the image quality was too poor for recognition to be possible.
In future, the BKA intends to integrate the method into its automatic fingerprint identification system (AFIS). All that is needed in order to be able to apply the growth correction is knowledge of the person’s age when the fingerprint was taken. “With the help of this method our system of handling young people’s fingerprints will be further enhanced. The joint effort has been worthwhile”, states Michael Hantschel, head of the BKA’s dactyloscopy department (AFIS) in Wiesbaden. The head of the research group at Göttingen University, Prof. Dr. Axel Munk, sees the project as a perfect example of collaboration between science and practice: “We began with a basic research question: How do fingerprints grow? With the help of modern procedures in mathematical statistics and using a BKA database we were able to answer the question. And the answer enabled us to model the growth effect in such a way that this, in turn, leads to relevant improvements in practice.”
Publication: Carsten Gottschlich, Thomas Hotz, Robert Lorenz, Stefanie Bernhardt, Michael Hantschel and Axel Munk. Modeling the Growth of Fingerprints Improves Matching for Adolescents. IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security 2011. DOI: 10.1109/TIFS.2011.2143406
A preview of the article can be found on the internet at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=5751684.Contact:
Dr. Bernd Ebeling | Uni Göttingen
PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems
11.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zuverlässigkeit und Mikrointegration IZM
Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'
08.12.2017 | Rice University
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
11.12.2017 | Information Technology