Tech5: Updating my contactless fingerprint capture post from October 2021

I’ve worked in the general area of contactless fingerprint capture for years, initially while working for a NIST CRADA partner. While most of the NIST CRADA partners are still pursuing contactless fingerprint technology, there are also new entrants.

In the pre-COVID days, the primary advantage of contactless fingerprint capture was speed. As I noted in an October 2021 post:

Actually this effort launched before that, as there were efforts in 2004 and following years to capture a complete set of fingerprints within 15 seconds; those efforts led, among other things, to the smartphone software we are seeing today.

From https://bredemarket.com/2021/10/04/contactless-fingerprint-scanning-almost-software-at-connectid/

By 2016, several companies had entered into cooperative research and development agreements with NIST to develop contactless fingerprint capture software, either for dedicated devices or for smartphones. Most of those early CRADA participants are still around today, albeit under different names.

Of the CRADA partners, MorphoTrak is now IDEMIA, Diamond Fortress is now Telos ID, Hoyos Labs is now Veridium, AOS is no longer in operation, and 3M’s biometric holdings are now part of Thales. Slide 10 from the NIST presentation posted at https://www.nist.gov/system/files/documents/2016/12/14/iai_2016-nist_contactless_fingerprints-distro-20160811.pdf

I’ve previously written posts about two of these CRADA partners, Telos ID (previously Diamond Fortress) and Sciometrics (the supplier for Integrated Biometrics).

But these aren’t the only players in the contactless fingerprint market. There are always new entrants in a market where there is opportunity.

A month before I wrote my post about Integrated Biometrics/Sciometrics’ SlapShot, a company called Tech5 released its own product.

T5-AirSnap Finger uses a smartphone’s built-in camera to perform finger detection, enhancement, image processing and scaling, generating images that can be transmitted for identity verification or registration within seconds, according to the announcement. The resulting images are suitable for use with standard AFIS solutions, and comparison against legacy datasets…

From https://www.biometricupdate.com/202109/tech5-contactless-fingerprint-biometrics-for-mobile-devices-unveiled

This particular article quoted Tech5 Co-founder/CEO Machiel van der Harst. A subsequent article quoted Tech5 Co-Founder/CTO Rahul Parthe. Both co-founders previously worked for L-1 Identity Solutions (now part of IDEMIA).

Parthe has noted the importance of smartphone-based contactless fingerprint capture:

“We all carry these awesome computers in our hands,” Parthe explains. “It’s a perfectly packaged hardware device that is ideal for any capture technology. Smartphones are powerful compute devices on the edge, with a nice integrated camera with auto-focus and flash. And now phones also come with multiple cameras which can help with better focus and depth estimation. This allows the users to take photos of their fingers and the software takes care of the rest. I’d just like to point out here that we’re talking about using the phone’s camera to capture biometrics and using a smartphone to take the place of a dedicated reader. We’re not talking about the in-built fingerprint acquisition we’re all familiar with on many devices which is the means of accessing the device itself.”

From https://www.biometricupdate.com/202202/contactless-fingerprinting-maturation-allows-the-unification-of-biometric-capture-using-smartphones

I’ve made a similar point before. While dedicated devices may not completely disappear, multi-purpose devices that we already have are the preferable way to go.

For more information about T5-AirSnap Finger, visit this page.

Tech5’s results for NIST’s Proprietary Fingerprint Template (PFT) Evaluation III, possibly using an algorithm similar to that in T5-AirSnap Finger, are detailed here.

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