Technology has revolutionized our world and continues to grow at an accelerated pace. One of the many technological advances that have become widespread is using biometrics in offices. Most companies now use biometric machines to improve security and control access.
People are using biometrics for thousands of years. However, how we use biometrics now is a more recent development. Like we’ve been using numbers to represent people and objects, humans have harnessed biometrics throughout history. We just found new ways to explore these technologies as we developed them.
In this blog, I will provide every little detail about biometric technology.
The ancient history of Biometric machine
Throughout history, humans have used physical traits to identify one another. Physical traits vary among individuals, but fingerprints are unique to each person.
Biometrics uses statistical analysis of a person’s distinctive physical features and behavior patterns to confirm an individual’s identity. The unique physical characteristics of a person, such as a fingerprint, palmprint, iris, voice, and face, are known as biometric identifiers. Thus, they used to make the most accurate and reliable security and identity management solutions. E.g., a biometric attendance machine not only records employees’ attendance but also acts as a virtual doorman where it doesn’t allow employees to punch attendance for going into unauthorized areas.
People are increasingly using biometrics to secure computers, smartphones, and other devices. Biometrics has been around since the history of technology—but it has become more prominent in recent years due to its ability to manage security and identity.
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What, when, and where?
Biometrics have always been present in human societies, and humans have noticed them since ancient times. In ancient Egypt, traders used physical appearances and stamps with fingerprints to know who to trust with their goods or coins. China also used fingerprint biometrics to identify its merchants and family members. Babylonian merchants used fingerprints as proof of identity during the first millennium B.C. Greece is known as one of the most advanced civilizations. Experts mentioned modern advancements like iris scanning in the writings of the Greek physician Hippocrates. Even the term “biometrics” derives from Greek words meaning life measure.
Many pioneers began to use fingerprinting as a tool for identification. The first recorded use of fingerprints as a tool for identification occurred in 1665 when an Italian biologist named Marcello Malpighi revealed their significance. In 1892, Sir Francis Galton published his highly influential book Fingerprints, which described his classification system with three main fingerprint patterns—loops, whorls, and arches. But the French anthropologist and police clerk Alphonse Bertillon is considered the pioneer who used fingerprints to identify criminals in the late 1800s. Unfortunately, his system was inaccurate and eventually replaced with better systems that are more accurate today.
The journey of Biometric machine
During the expansion of the industrial revolution, it was important to differentiate between the public from criminals. They implemented fingerprinting systems for the very first time to reduce criminal threats. Like Bertillon’s anthropometry method, many fingerprinting systems that created at that time didn’t follow a set standard. Therefore, they gave erroneous results; however, efforts to improve did not stop.
In the late 1800s, Sir Edward Henry expanded Galton’s concept of a biometric attendance system. He ordered Bengali police officers to collect prisoners’ fingerprints and their anthropometric measurements and established the Henry Classification System. Regarding India, Hem Chandra Bose and Qazi Azizul Haque derived the Henry Classification system. They were both prominent researchers in their fields; however, their contribution remains shadowed by Henry, their superior.
In 1935, Dr. Carleton Simon and Dr. Isadore Goldstein proposed the idea of retinal identification. Dr. Goldstein also contributed to publishing the first paper on face recognition. In 1981, the first retina scanning method was successfully developed. Professor John Daugman invented the IrisCode in the 1990s, which is a 2D Gabor wavelet-based iris recognition algorithm.
The twentieth century saw the development of computers and other technological devices that made possible use of biometric identifiers. The possibility to scan and identify various forms of biometric identifiers, including fingerprints and faces, led to their increasing use in society by 2001.
Currently, touchless biometric verification methods are gaining prominence. Finger vein scanning is also attracting much interest. After the Covid-19 pandemic, touchless biometrics came into action. Accuracy rates for many touchless biometric attendance systems are higher than those for in-person attendance systems. In 2003, the Department of Defense incorporated and established an Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) and an official subcommittee also included by the Federal Government to identify any potential national threats.
Biometric technology has transformed based on the needs of people and made its existence into our daily lives. It is everywhere, from mobile phones to attendance-taking, organization security, and identification cards. Biometric technology has taken its time to grow in the market, and many recent developments have changed our lives.