Security has always been a concern of paramount importance to human beings. We have gone from protecting valuables in the past by keeping them in dungeons to safeguarding data by layers and layers of cryptographic software. Either way, ensuring the well being of our personal belongings has always been near the top of our priority list and this is a very important aspect in the workplace where fingerprint door locks are part of a highly effective access control system.
Thanks to technology, today’s security involves a wide range of software and hardware including web-based security services, biometrics and personal devices with integrated security levels. One of the biggest advances of the digital technical age has been the introduction of biometrics into security. Here, we shall take a look at fingerprint door locks, one of the earliest and most used systems deploying biometrics, and take an in depth look at its workings.
What are fingerprint door locks?
Let’s start with the definition. Although the name in itself is pretty self-explanatory, a fingerprint door locks may be defined as “a system which grants access to authorised personnel by virtue of recognising their unique fingerprints.” You have probably looked at your hands countless times and noticed the ridges and valley pattern. The patterns were an important outcome of the human of human evolution as they enhanced our ability to grip. However, an unforeseen consequence of this particular step in the evolutionary process was to grant humans a fantastic method of identification.
Human fingerprints are extremely detailed and nearly unique. What is more, they are also very difficult to fake or alter and can endure over an individual’s lifespan. This makes them very suitable as long term markers of human identity. When the technology, which can recognized, and differentiate between fingerprints is deployed in securing access to a doorway, you get a “fingerprint door lock system”.
However, a question that arises is that why should you not stick to the old lock and key? Or use some other alternative methods instead of going for the relatively expensive fingerprint lock systems. Well, not only are fingerprint door lock systems reliable and non-intrusive as the fingerprint is unique, there is also no danger of leaving your fingers at home or at the office. Also, the fact that fingerprints are nearly always unique, makes the fingerprint door locking systems reliable and non-intrusive, there is also no danger of leaving your fingers at home or at the office. Also, the fact that fingerprints are nearly always unique, makes the fingerprint door locking system perfect with regards to security. And of course, you can hardly forget your fingerprints or even guess it, as is the case with an alphanumeric password.
How do fingerprint door locks work?
Okay, so let’s get down to how these locks actually work. Basically, fingerprint locks operate by scanning and converting your fingerprint data into a numerical template. Once you place your finger onto the scanner for the first time the conversion into numerical data takes place, and the fingerprint template is saved. This process is then repeated every time you want to grant someone access. The next time someone places his/her finger on the sensor, it matches the data obtained through the finger with the pre saved values. If a match is found, access is granted and the door opens. On the other hand, if it is someone else trying to get through, access is not allowed and the door remains locked. Simple, no?
Now, matching the algorithm is the most important process here. This is usually achieved by the minutia minutiae matching process. In this, several minutia minutiae points are located on your finger pads, along with their position and direction when you register for the first time. This information is then stored in the system memory. While matching, the already stored fingerprint template is compared to the received input. If there is a match, a green LED usually signals it and the door is opened. The process is very quick and is completed in a fraction of a second. In case you are wondering, two instances of friction ridge skin impressions together constitute a minutia.