When most people think of biometrics, they imagine fingerprint or facial recognition, but there are many different types of biometrics used today to identify and authenticate individuals. Whether for security, access, or fraud prevention, biometrics come in many forms, and the software needed to collect biometric data is evolving quickly, as well.
Here are 14 different types of biometrics.
Different Types of Physiological Biometrics
Physiological biometrics are those that rely on one’s physical characteristics to determine identity. This biometrics type includes but is not limited to the following:
Fingerprint recognition, which measures a finger’s unique ridges, is one of the oldest forms of biometric identification. After capturing the print, sophisticated algorithms use the image to produce a unique digital biometric template. The template is then compared to new or existing scans to either confirm or deny a match.
Veins are considerably harder to hack than other biometric scans because they occur deep within the skin. Infrared lights pass through the skin surface where they absorb into deoxygenated blood. A special camera captures the image which digitizes the data then either stores it or uses it to confirm identity.
Hand geometry biometrics refer to the measurement of hand characteristics like the length and width of fingers, their curvature, and their relative position to other features of the hand. Though once a dominant method of biometric measurement, modern advances in fingerprint and facial recognition software have replaced its relevance in most advanced applications.
The iris, or the colored part of the eye, consists of thick, thread-like muscles. These muscles help shape the pupil to control the amount of light that enters the eye. By measuring the unique folds of these muscles, biometric authentication tools can confirm identity with incredible accuracy. Liveness detection (like requiring a user to blink for the scan) adds an additional layer of accuracy and security.
Retinal scans capture capillaries deep within the eye by using unique near-infrared cameras. The raw image is first preprocessed to enhance the image then processed again as a biometric template to use during both enrollment and verification.
Facial recognition is, by far the oldest form of biometric authentication. Even infants use facial recognition to identify the people closest to them. Biometric facial recognition software works much the same way, albeit with more precise measurements. Specifically, facial recognition software measures the geometry of the face, including the distance between the eyes and the distance from the chin to the forehead (just to name a few). After collecting the data, an advanced algorithm transforms it into an encrypted facial signature.
Unlike many other biometric modalities that require unique cameras to take measurements, ear shape biometrics measures the ear’s acoustics using special headphones an inaudible sound waves. A microphone inside of each earphone measures sound waves as they reflect from the ear canal, bouncing in different directions off the ear canal’s distinct curves. A digital copy of the ear shape transforms into a biometric template for later use.
Voice recognition technology falls under both the physiological and behavioral biometric umbrellas. Physically speaking, the shape of a person’s vocal tract, including the nose, mouth, and larynx determines the sound produced. Behaviorally, the way a person says something – movement variations, tone, pace, accent, and so on – is also unique to each individual. Combining data from both physical and behavioral biometrics creates a precise vocal signature though mismatches due to illness or other factors can occur.
A thermogram is a representation of infrared energy in the form of a temperature distribution image. Biometric facial thermography captures heat patterns caused by moving blood beneath the skin. Because blood vessels are highly unique, corresponding thermograms are also unique – even among identical twins – making this method of biometric authentication even more accurate than traditional facial recognition software.
DNA has long been used for identification purposes. Additionally, is the only form of biometrics that can trace familial ties. DNA matching is especially valuable when dealing with missing persons, disaster victim identification, and potential human trafficking. Furthermore, other than fingerprints, DNA is the only biometric that can be “left behind” unintentionally. DNA gathered from hair, saliva, semen, and so on contains Short Tandem Repeat sequences (STRs). DNA STRs can confirm identity by comparing them to other STRs in a database.
Different Types of Behavioral Biometrics
Behavioral biometrics are those that measure behavior patterns as opposed to (or in addition to) physical characteristics. These are just a few examples of behavioral biometrics.
Gait biometrics records stride patterns via video imaging then transforms the mapped data into a mathematical equation. This type of biometric is unobtrusive making it ideal for massive crowd surveillance as it can quickly identify people from afar.
One of the newer forms of biometric authentication involves measuring lip movement. Much like a deaf person might track lip movement to determine what is said, biometric lip motion authentication tracks and records precise muscle movement around the lips to determine if they follow an expected pattern. Biometric lip motion sensors often require users to verbalize passwords and record the corresponding lip movement to grant or deny access.
Signature recognition is a behavioral biometric that measures spatial coordinates, pen pressure, inclination, and pen stroke in both “off-line” and “on-line” applications. A digital tablet records measurements then uses the information to automatically creates a biometric profile for future authentication.
Keystroke dynamics take standard passwords to the next level by tracking the rhythm used to enter a password. Measurements might include the time it takes to press each key, delays between keys, characters typed per minute, and so on. Keystroke patterns work in conjunction with passwords and PINs to improve security efforts.
Final Thoughts on the Different Types of Biometrics
Every individual is unique. Even identical twins differ in their behavior and physical make-up. Biometric technology differentiates unique characteristics to confirm identity and improve security.
Thanks to the many different types of biometrics, secure identity verification are becoming easier, quicker, and more accurate than ever. Contact iBeta to learn more about our biometrics testing and certification services.