Team develops accurate contactless 3-D fingerprint identification system

A research team led by Dr. Ajay Kumar invents a 3-D fingerprint identification system of high efficiency and accuracy. Credit: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

The research team of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has developed a system for three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching technology, pushing contactless biometric technology into a new realm of speed and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security of access and forensic applications at an affordable cost.


Automated contact-based 2D fingerprinting identification is commonly used by law enforcement agencies to identify people. However, contact-based acquisition of biometric scans by rolling or pressing fingers against a hard surface such as glass, silicon or polymer often results in partial or degraded images due to skin deformations, slippages or smearing. This produces images that are not fully useful for the identification. Non-contact fingerprint systems, on the other hand, avoid direct contact between the imaging sensor and the elastic surface of the skin, and can thus reduce inaccuracies due to problems associated with contact-based systems. Although there are emerging contactless 3D systems, they tend to be very expensive and bulky due to their use of multiple cameras or structured lighting systems.

The research team led by Dr Ajay Kumar, Associate Professor of Department of Computing overcomes the limitations of contact-based 2D biometric scans and maximises the advantages from the contactless 3D systems.

The minutiae features from the fingerprint ridges – such as ridge ending and bifurcation are universally considered to be the most reliable of fingerprint details,…

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