An Indian-origin US researcher and his team have recently created life-size 3D hand models, complete with fingerprints, deploying a high-resolution 3D printer, which is capable of producing the same ridges and valleys as a real finger.

Like any optical device, fingerprint and hand scanners are required to be calibrated, but currently there is no standard method for doing so. “This is the first time a whole hand 3D target has been created to calibrate fingerprint scanners,” said professor Anil Kumar Jain from Michigan State University (MSU).

Speaking on the research, “We wanted to answer the question that has plagued law enforcement and forensic science for decades: Is fingerprint pattern persistent over time?” said the professor, adding that “we have now determined, with multilevel statistical modeling, that fingerprint recognition accuracy remains stable over time”. Importantly, Prof. Jain and his biometrics team were investigating the methods to test and calibrate fingerprint scanners commonly used across the globe at police departments, airport immigration counters, banks and even amusement parks.

However, the Professor discovered this may not be as far-fetched as once thought and requires the security companies and the public to be aware. The FBI, CIA, military and manufacturers will all be interested in this project, he added.

“As a byproduct of this research, we realized a fake 3D hand, essentially a spoof, with someone’s fingerprints, could potentially allow a crook to steal the person’s identity to break into a vault, contaminate a crime scene or enter the country illegally,” Jain cautioned, adding “Another application of this technology will be to evaluate the spoof-resistance of commercial fingerprint scanners. We have highlighted a security loophole and the limitations of existing fingerprint scanning technology, now it’s up to the scanner manufacturers to design a scanner that is spoof-resistant”.

Along with Jain and Paulter, the study was co-authored by another Indian-origin US researcher Sunpreet Arora, MSU doctoral student.

Anil Jain is the Distinguished Professor, computer science and engineering, at Michigan State University.  He is widely known for his contributions in the fields of pattern recognition, computer vision and biometric recognition. Born in India, he has received his Bachelor of Technology in electrical engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 1969. He received his MS and PhD from the Ohio State University in 1970 and 1973, respectively. He has earlier served as a member of the U.S. National Academies panels on Information Technology, Whither Biometrics and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). He also served as a member of the Defense Science Board. In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering “for contributions to the engineering and practice of biometrics”.


by Ashwani Srivastava

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *