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Biometric Technology: A Brief History

Biometric Authentication uses cutting-edge technologies to identify people based on their intrinsic physical or behavioral traits, effectively replacing the role of traditional passwords and promoting a passwordless authentication

But before the technology that we come to know today, biometrics has gone through improvements and breakthroughs over the years. Here is a brief history of biometric technology:

The 1960s – exploration

Scientists began identifying the physiological components of acoustic speech and phonic sounds, which paved the way for modern voice recognition technology.The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) alsoused automated fingerprint authentication, leading to the study ofintricate points to map unique patterns and ridges.

The 1970s and 1980s – FBI Funding

The first scanners of extract fingerprint points were prototyped and funded by the FBI. Consequently, the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) worked on compression and algorithms, which led to the development of the M40 algorithms, which produced a smaller set of images that trained and specialized human technicians used for evaluation.

From then, developments continued to improve fingerprint technology further.The NIST also advanced speech, ocular, and face recognition by filing a patent for iris identification and subcutaneous blood vessel patterns.

The 1990s – Biometric science takes off

This timeline was considered a surge in the study of biometrics. The National Security Agency (NSA) formed the Biometric Consortium and The Department of Defense (DoD) partnered with the Defense Advanced Research Products Agency or (DARPA) to finance face recognition algorithms for commercial markets.

The 2000s – Rollout of biometric technology

There has been a widespread use of biometric technology with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standardizing genetic biometric technologies, prompting collaborative exchange of international biometric research and development.

Face recognition was also utilised in the world as a biometric authenticator for passports as well as in other Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTDs). Biometric authentication, considered to strengthen security measures, have also been used by the United States immigration facilitating travel.

Additionally, the DoD used biometric data to track and distinguish national security threats and continued to power terrorist identification. However, when Apple introduced TouchID on the Iphone 5S, biometrics was no longer reserved for government use as it was now consumed by the general public.

Present and Moving Forward

Today, biometric technology can offer strong customer authentication solutions and plays a significant role in people’s daily security.Passwordless authentication is now employed in commercial applications, civil identification, law enforcement, healthcare, and more.

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Biometric Technology: a brief history

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