When you were born, your mom most likely counted your fingers and toes. But did she capture a print/impression of your fingers? Like many others, she might have thought that no two fingerprints are going to be the same, ever. And then, it’s quite difficult to record fingerprints of little babies. But in the coming future, with the help of technology, it will no more be the case.
Michigan State University is showing interest in further research on it. Professor “Anil Jain” who is a biometrics expert in the same university has developed a prototype device with his team. This device can read infants’ fingerprints in a very accurate way. All thank goes to image enhancement.
They have discovered one problem with wee ones as the prints don’t change by themselves. They have prepared a roadmap, but trackable fingers have yet to grow in size and pattern. Till now patterns are very dense and compact, and they will be soft compared with what it will be in the next few months, or years.
As we know, the fingerprint capturing process is very challenging because of the faint or low contrast ridge structure, especially for 0-12 months old babies. Professor Jain mentioned that we have to face some other challenges like very small fingers and wet or dry fingers of babies. He explained that the ridge and structure itself does not change after the childbirth, still, there are many challenges with imaging of their fingerprints.
About the Device
A fingerprint reader is a small device,which can place in between the fingers of infants. Based on the machine learning algorithms, high-resolution images can be developed to get almost accurate prints to read. This device is enabled with a button, by which a user can easily take the fingerprints. Thanks to Professor Jain and his team for creating this innovative device, with which, taking reliable infant fingerprints became easy. Before this invention, it was not possible to take the fingerprints of infants. With this latest fingerprint and software, the recognition of fingerprints is close to 100 % for 12 months and older kids. For less than 4 weeks to 6-month older babies, the accuracy is about 80%. Professor Anil Jain says his team is refining the sensing technology so that they can produce the best device.
This technology is a boon for many developing countries where people miss their basic rights because of un-identification. With these applications, we can track the child’s vaccination schedules, identify the missing kids, and even it can help stop the fraud in any kind of food subsidies. The major contribution is to prevent a swap of new-born babies at the hospitals.
Professor Jain is working with the “World Food Program” and the “Aadhar National ID Program” in India. Most of the children are fingerprinted at the age of 5 in India, and they have to give their fingerprint again once they turn 15. Prof. Jain says they have to do it because of the change in fingerprints.
In the USA, so many parents have given the fingerprints of their kids to police. Parents have even given the sample of saliva, fingerprints, and videos of their kids to the police. This practice has helped the police in many cases of troubles or accidents. To maintain criminal records, these fingerprints play a vital role.