Categories of Biometrics


Biometrics systems are an alternative to traditional identification systems. According to International Standard Organization (ISO), biometrics means “automated recognition of individualities on the basis of their physiological and behavioral characteristics”. A physiological trait is a trait that is physically present in the body of a person. These features are uprooted from the mortal body using specific accouterments and ways. The physiological features grounded in biometrics include iris images, cutlet prints, thumbprints, faces, cutlet modes, hand figures, DNA sequences, an iris image, twinkle, palates, etc. Behavioral features are the features that are uprooted from the day-to-day sociological actions of a person. The behavioral features used for particular identification are gait hand, voice, lip stir, body language, handwriting, etc. Every mortal being can be uniquely linked on the base of physiological & behavioral characteristics.

Categories Of Biometrics

Figure 1. Categories of Biometrics

Also Read: Biometrics and Cyber Security

Brief History

1858Sir William Herschel developed the First standardized Hand images System.
1896Inspector General of the Bengal Police, Sir Edward Henry, developed a fingerprint classification system.
1960Woodrow W. Bledsoe created the first semi-automated Face recognition system.
1960FBI uses the first AFIS system developed by NIST.
1974First time commercial hand geometry systems become available
1975FBI in collaboration with NIST developed First Automated Fingerprint using sensors and minutiae extracting technology
1998FBI launched CODlS (Combined DNA Index System) to digitally store, search and retrieve DNA forensic database.
2004First state wide automated palm print databases are deployed in the US by Connecticut, Rhode Island and California
2011India deploys mass Iris Recognition System
2017Smart speaker devices like Amazon Echo, using the Alexa voice recognition platform, and Google Home, provide an opportunity to link speech recognition, control, and voice biometrics.

Fingerprint Biometrics

Fingerprint Biometrics is based on the recognition and analysis of an individual’s fingerprint and its characteristics. They are distinguishable and immovable for every person and their basic features never change with time. The patterns of ridges, furrows and the minutiae details present finger are used to determine the uniqueness of a fingerprint. Three basis ridge patterns are loops, whorls and arches. Fingerprint biometrics is based on the comparison of ridges, furrows and minutiae points. Immutability and uniqueness are two fundamental principles that are used in the identification of an individual’s fingerprint.

Face Recognition

Face recognition is a non-intrusive technique of biometrics. The physiological attributes of the face are the basis of Face recognition. It involves the size, shape and location of the facial traits such as lips, nose, eyes, chin, jaw and their spatial relationships distinguish faces.

Figure 2. Face Recognition Process

Iris Biometrics

Figure 3. Iris Biometrics

The Iris is the thin, elastic, pigmented and circular connective tissue in the eye which limits the amount of light entering the eye by controlling the size and the diameter of the pupil. The patterns of the iris are permanent throughout life and even cannot be changed by surgery. Like fingerprints, iris characteristics are also different even in the case of identical twins. The comparison of two iris pattern code can be computed by the hamming distance based on the difference in the number of bits.

Hand Geometry Biometrics

Hand Geometry Biometrics is based on the density of the palm, width and length of the fingers and these measurements are not unique as a fingerprint. The shape of the hand parameter becomes stable in the later stage of life. Only the features of hand are not sufficient for authentication. However, they are supportive for identification purposes when the measurements of fingers and hand are combined with various individual features.

Figure 4. Hand Geometry Biometrics

Hand Geometry biometrics older than palm print, follows simple processing techniques. It forms a base for research and development of new acquisition, pre-processing and verification techniques.

Also Read: Forensic Biometric Analysis

DNA Biometrics

DNA It is a genetic material present in the cell’s nucleus of every living organism. It is the blueprint for the human body design. DNA Biometrics is generally used for identification rather than verification. The process of creating a DNA profile is called DNA profiling. The CODIS System is the most common existing DNA database, used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 DNA is a genetic code, which is unique to every individual and only identical twins have the same DNA. This biometrics is different from all other biometrics in following ways:

  • Concrete sample is needed not the image.
  • Only physical samples are matched. Feature extraction or Template storing is needed.

Keystroke Biometrics

A keystroke is a behavioral technique that offers sufficient information to differentiate each individual who types on a keyboard in a specific way. It basically involvesthe person’s typing pattern, rhythm, and speed of typing on a keyboard. The research has revealed that two factors, dwell time and flight time can provide 99% accurate identification of the person who is typing.

Voice Biometrics

Voice biometrics is also known as speaker recognition biometrics. Almost, all human voice features are distinct for every individual as well as for twins also and the voice could be replicated perfectly. Every individual produced unique voice patterns by a combination of physical and behavioural characteristics. The vocal tract, shape and size of the mouth and nasal cavity are the physical characteristics and speed of speech, accents, emphasis and pronunciation are the behavioural characteristics.


Biometrics is an evolving technology that is being widely applied in the areas like forensics, security, ATM, smart cards, PC and networks. Biometrics is more secured when compared to conventional methods of authorization.

About The Author

This Article is written by Rahul Kumar Sinha, Research Scholar, Department of Criminology & Forensic Science, Dr. Harisingh Gour Central University, Sagar (M.P.)

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