The field of biometrics is rapidly growing and expanding. Whether we realize it or not, biometrics are prevalent in our everyday lives.

Many consumers may wonder how biometrics work and how they are of use. In this article, a dive into the realm of biometrics will ensue, and explain how it all coincides.


What are Biometrics?

To answer this popular question, biometrics are by definition, “the measurement and analysis of unique physical or behavioral characteristics (such as fingerprint or voice patterns) especially as a means of verifying personal identity” (1).

Breaking this down, a biometric identifies unique personal features of a person. The retained information can then be of use in a number of ways.


Types of Biometrics

There are several types of ways to obtain biometric information.

Types include:

  • Fingerprint scan
  • Voice recognition
  • Retinal or Iris scan
  • Facial recognition

Each biometric listed above functions the same way. Unique identifiers utilize a finger print or retina scan for recognition. Continuing, this ensures that only one person identifies with the biometric data that a database stores.


How is biometric data used?

Biometrics have been around for a decent amount of time.  Some reports claim that fingerprints were found on clay tablets used for business transactions in ancient Babylon (3).

More recently, for instance, law enforcement agencies use biometrics to gather evidence and identify criminals. Fingerprints are a form of identification that is useful in a criminal database and to officers.

Continuing, with the data, officers have the ability to make an arrest bring justice to a case or bring a criminal down through the use of this technology.

Biometrics like the ones stated above are able to protect items, property and data.

For example, to enter a high level security facility, one may have to be biometrically identified through a retina scan to enter the building. This would ensure the correct identity of the person who is trying to gain access, and prevent theft or a security breach.

On the everyday side of things, facial recognition or a fingerprint is what a user needs to unlock a cell phone or a computer. Consumers literally hold biometric technology in their hands.


What does the future hold for the biometrics field?

All in all, biometrics are revolutionizing the way we protect information. Will it overshadow the need to remember a password or scan a key card? Possibly. But, when using this technology in conjunction with pins / passwords and IDs, the security strength increases tremendously (2).

Further, research is currently being conducted on the continued integration of biometric usage into the world of technology as well as the everyday. This includes: schools, households and the workplace.

Where will you see biometrics integrated into your life? This is something to ponder next time you are, for example, using your cell phone, at work, or life in general.


By, Taylor Ritchey



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