Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Fingerprint Fidelity

PostedJuly 19, 2015

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Anchor Lead: Fingerprints have been assumed be able to identify a particular person throughout life. But do they change over time?

Randy Atkins: The accuracy of matching recently produced fingerprints is extremely high…and Anil Jain, a Michigan State engineer, says we assume fingerprints will stay the same throughout life.

Anil Jain: But these conditions have never been rigorously shown to be true.

Randy Atkins: So Jain looked at police booking prints of 16-thousand repeat offenders. He says, even considering injuries and wear on their fingers…

Anil Jain: …the time interval does not degrade the recognition accuracy up to the 12-year time period for which we had the data.

Randy Atkins: Jain says this finding is important, especially for increasingly sophisticated juries who demand scientific and statistical evidence rather experts who simply say: “It’s a match!” With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.