What is Biometrics? "Biometrics" means "life measurement" but the term is usually associated with the use of unique physiological characteristics to identify an individual. The application which most people associate with biometrics is security. However, biometrics identification has eventually a much broader relevance as computer interface becomes more natural. Knowing the person with whom you are conversing is an important part of human interaction and one expects computers of the future to have the same capabilities. A number of biometric traits have been developed and are used to authenticate the person's identity. The idea is to use the special characteristics of a person to identify him. By using special characteristics we mean the using the features such as face, iris, fingerprint, signature etc.

A biometric system can be either an 'identification' system or a 'verification' (authentication) system, which are defined below. Identification - One to Many: Biometrics can be used to determine a person's identity even without his knowledge or consent. For example, scanning a crowd with a camera and using face recognition technology, one can determine matches against a known database. Verification - One to One: Biometrics can also be used to verify a person's identity. For example, one can grant physical access to a secure area in a building by using finger scans or can grant access to a bank account at an ATM by using retinal scan.

  • Reducing false non-match and false match rates,
  • Providing a secondary means of enrollment, verification, and identification if sufficient data cannot be acquired from a given biometric sample, and
  • Combating attempts to fool biometric systems through fraudulent data sources such as fake fingers.