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Keep your fingers to yourself.

Your fingers can do more to protect your identification than covering your back pocket or clutching your purse. A new access control system relies on finger measurements to prove identity. "You are very unlikely to have a hand with finger shapes that are the same as someone else's," says Charles Colbert, a medical physicist and president of Personnel Identification and Entry Access Control (PIDEAC) Inc., developers of the hand measurement system.

Three measurements--length, width, and shape--are taken of the fingers of each hand. That information is written in digital form onto a smart card. The user inserts the card into the machine and places his or her hand on a lighted panel. A scanning camera above the panel scans the hands from the knuckles up, measuring only a sliver at a time.

The machine then tabulates 12 scores, three measurements of four fingers, and averages them into one overall score. A perfect score is 100.00, however, due to slight changes in the hands or other factors, the user's score may be lower.

To account for this, the machine is set with a threshold score. The user's score must be above the threshold score for access to be allowed.

"The machine has a range of acceptability," Colbert says. "It makes a judgment as to whether your finger shape is the same as the one on the card."

Even though Colbert doesn't make the claim that finger shapes are as unique as fingerprints, he explains that smudges, dirt, and cuts on fingers may cause a higher rate of rejection by identification systems using fingerprints than those using hand measurements.

PIDEAC developed this system with funding from the Air Force and the state of Ohio. During development they realized its many applications. "Credit cards, bank cards, welfare cards, food stamps |cards~, green cards, Medicare cards...all are used in such a way that there is an opportunity for fraud," Colbert says.

To meet all these different needs, the Yellow Springs, OH, company developed many versions of the machine. The simplest models, measuring only finger lengths, cost between $250 and $350. The more complex systems sell for anywhere from $2,000 to $6,500.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:hand measurement-based identification system
Publication:Security Management
Date:Dec 1, 1992
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