Biometric Recognition: Overview and Recent Advances

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Abstract

The emerging requirements of reliable and highly accurate personal identification in a number of government and commercial applications (e.g., international border crossings, access to buildings, laptops and mobile phones) have served as an impetus for a tremendous growth in biometric recognition technology. Biometrics refers to the automatic recognition of an individual by using anatomical or behavioral traits associated with that person. By using biometrics, it is possible to recognize a person based on who you are, rather than by what you possess (e.g., an ID card) or what you remember (e.g., a password). Besides bolstering security, biometric systems also enhance user convenience by alleviating the need to design and remember multiple complex passwords. In spite of the fact that the first automatic biometric recognition system based on fingerprints, called AFIS, was installed by law enforcement agencies over 40 years back, biometric recognition continues to remain a very difficult pattern recognition problem. A biometric system has to contend with problems related to non-universality of biometric (failure to enroll rate), limited degrees of freedom (finite error rate), large intra-class variability, and spoof attacks (system security). This paper presents an overview of biometrics, its advantages and limitations, state-of-the-art error rates and current research in representation, fusion and security issues.