Easing enrollment and use
The hallmark for touchless, however, is its ease of use and throughput capabilities. It’s an easy and intuitive process that can even enable users to enroll without any operator assistance, Jones explains.
Enrollment involves waving four fingers on each hand through the scanner. Traditionally, fingerprint systems would require each finger to be applied two or three times to properly enroll. With Finger on the Fly, a user need only pass their hand through the device once to enroll all four fingers.
“The system can also enroll and recognize thumbprints if desired, it just requires the user to hold their two thumbs together and wave them through,” Jones explains.
The other advantage of multiple fingers is that some environments may present bandaged, damaged, or missing fingers. “If, for example, you only enrolled your index fingers and those fingers are damaged or bandaged, you introduce a significant wrinkle to the throughput capabilities of that system,” explains Horton. “Even in situations where you don’t need all four fingers, you still have the added convenience, assurance and accuracy that the additional data provides.”
As Jones explains, even the wave motion across the sensor has a purpose, eliminating the possibility of user error at the time of enrollment and authentication.
“Waving your hand across the surface area of the scanner ensures that each finger is going to be, in at least one of the frames, captured accurately,” says Jones. “If you were to make it more of a static motion, you run the risk of the user holding part of their hand outside of the scanner area and thus not being read.”
Finding a place for touchless fingerprints
According to Jones, there’s been a big demand for touchless biometrics in the physical access control and time and attendance worlds.
“We have customers that have to get a single shift change of 5,000 or more employees through turnstiles into a manufacturing plant,” he explains. “Every second counts in that setting, because if employees have to wait in a 20-minute queue, that’s production time lost and time lost for the employee.”
Jones says large tech companies have very much the same issues. “They have busloads of employees that show up to their premises at once and that have to get into the building at the same time,” he explains.
Touchless can be applicable at the opposite end of the spectrum as well, as security for a small roster of employees is no less vital than it is for thousands. These environments often require increased security for which the matching of multiple fingerprints is ideal, Jones says.
Correctional institutions, where lines and queues can be problematic, could also benefit from a touchless solution with high throughput.
“Inmates queue up and authenticate before entering cafeterias or common areas,” says Horton. “Wait times and line backups can leave these environments susceptible to disruptions and violence, so getting them through quickly can be vital.”
Due to its federally driven roots, however, Horton posits that the best use case could be airport security. The U.S. government has a mandate to implement a biometric exit program for foreign travelers leaving the country. “For exit applications, the technology greatly facilitates fast and accurate boarding processes,” adds Horton.
While touchless fingerprint sensors are yet to hit the market en masse, the technology is clearly making strides. The use cases are certainly there for biometric exits, time and attendance and high throughput access control. Time will tell if touchless is, in fact, a touch above the rest.