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Saturday, August 8, 2020

6 Different Types of Fingerprint Devices Currently in Use Today

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Technology never ceases to amaze, and neither does it disappoint. Every day is a new day as we experience different technological advancement that is making life more bearable and interesting. With that in mind, experts have not left the biometric technology behind and for sure, it has come with a bang.

The study and use of fingerprint biometrics in verification of individuals have gradually evolved over time. However, a century after the discovery of this technique and classification of the different print biometrics fingerprint technology and the use of fingerprint devices was a preserve of fiction television movies.

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Nonetheless with the technological advancement wave that swept the world in the last two decades including the proliferation of crime had heads rolling in the biometrics industry. During this time, different technological companies tried to outdo each other in the digitization and advancement of fingerprint technology.

The result of this rapid technological advancement in the filed would be the realization of fingerprint devices that employ different approaches to determining the uniqueness of print patterns.

Types of scanners

Optical sensor devices

Optical sensor devices

These represent the most rudimental and widely used technology in the field of fingerprint devices. They derive their name from the fact that they embrace the use of optical imagery of the finger in capturing and authenticating finger ID biometrics and print impressions. The first fingerprint technology developed was used on these devices. They, therefore, are the earliest forms of fingerprint biometrics capturing agents from which almost all other devices and technologies drew their inspiration.

However, these devices have been raked by numerous challenges that cripple their ability to function as security features. Their biggest shortfall stems from the fact that they only rely on optical images that are easy to replicate.

Most institutions have therefore resorted to phasing out the use of optical devices as a security feature but keeping it for other less sensitive operations. However, the fact that the technology is one of the cheapest currently available and also inexpensive to maintain makes its dominance of the industry hard to beat, at least in the short run.

Capacitive sensor devices

Capacitive sensor devices

Like the name suggests, these devices use a wide array of capacitors plates in imaging a finger and deriving print impressions. The capacitive sensors derive fingerprint biometrics and impressions from electric imagery achieved through an electrical current.


These devices take advantage of the fact that human skin has electric conduction capabilities, and therefore passes electric through the fingers ridges and valleys to come up with the electrical imagery. To achieve this, device passes small dosages of electric current through the finger. The fact that the ridges are closest to the scanners means that they report higher capacitance levels while the valleys report low capacitance.

Capacitive sensor fingerprint devices have over time emerged as some of the most preferred options for securing sensitive access points. This stems from the fact that unlike most other sensors that only rely on static images, capacitive sensors require a real finger that can receive and respond to electric currents.

Thermal sensor devices

Thermal sensor devices

This refers to fingerprint devices that use temperature differences to draw up a thermal image of the print ID biometrics. To derive this image, the fingerprint technology employed by this device is set to rise the device temperatures in order to capture the thermal impressions of the finger ridges placed on the screen.

The devices nonetheless, only record the temperatures of the finger ridges as they are the only part of the finger that has a direct contact with the thermal screen and not the valleys. The thermal sensor devices draw their strengths from the fact that they are hard to manipulate or chat as they require a physical and live finger to capture the temperatures.

This makes them prime as a security measure for the highly sensitive parts of an organization. Their downfall, however, remains the fact that they are highly sensitive to damaged fingers as well as temperature changes with some taking longer to adjust to the bodily and room temperatures.

Pressure sensor devices

Pressure sensor devices

The pressure sensor devices are emerging as market leaders in the field of electronics with most technology companies taking advantage of their thin and portable stature.

Unlike other imagery fingerprint technology devices, this class of devices takes advantage of pressure sensing detectors in the form of conductive film and micro-electro-mechanism devices. When you place a finger on these plates, they respond by detecting all the pressure points of the print ridges with the spaces in between representing valleys.

They have particularly received large scale application with the adoption of fingerprint technology by smartphone industry.


Radio frequency sensor device

Radio frequency sensor device

The use of radio frequencies in matching coming up with print impressions represents a huge advancement in this filed.

Devices using this technology help apply low radio frequencies to a finger that they then use to map out this biometrics. The fact that these waves capture the adermal imagery of the finger provides a solution to the dry finger challenges rocking the biometrics capturing technologies.

Ultrasonic sensor devices

Ultrasonic sensor devices

While this technology is relatively new, it represents one of the most fool-proof fingerprint technologies. It functions by helping examine the finger biometrics located deep inside the skin.

This helps it overcome such challenges associated with determining whether a print originates from a live finger. The ultrasonic devices are, however, expensive and data-intensive making the process slow.

Bottom line

It is evident that the technological advancement is at its best and with a simple thing such as biometric fingerprints here with us, we can then say that everything is going digital. As the fingerprint technology evolved over time, so did the sophistication in the development of devices responsible for capturing the finger ID biometrics.

From optical images to capacitive sensors, each successive development of a finger ID device has attempted to solve challenges posed by its predecessors. With some of the most dynamic technology industries like smartphone markets embracing technology, one can only speculate on the future of the finger ID technology.

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