U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Contactless Fingerprint Technologies Assessment (Version 2)

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2014
56 pages
This report reviews the initiatives in contactless fingerprint collection technologies being used in government, industry, and academia.
The review found that commercial off-the-shelf contactless fingerprint devices are being used primarily for personnel access control for a local database of enrollees. Although it is possible that these devices could be modified for use in an enhanced capacity, additional investment and development would be required. The government agencies most active in funding the development of enhanced contactless fingerprint scanners are the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Defense. In addition, several manufacturers are performing internally funded research and development, and there are research activities at academic institutions. Contactless fingerprint scanning technologies have several potential advantages over the current fingerprint collection methods, i.e., higher quality fingerprint images, faster capture times, unattended fingerprint collection, and a reduced likelihood of the spreading of contaminants among subjects. Of the devices discussed in this report, only the FS3D devices performed a full 3D scan of the fingerprint topography. Others used various methods from approximating the curvature of the actual finger to determining how best to unroll the scan. Because of the varying scanning technology as well as unrolling and distortion techniques used among vendors, it will be important to inform stakeholders of the validity, repeatability, and matchability of the fingerprints produced by these systems. In addition, adoption of this technology will require stakeholders and end-users to be confident in the compatibility of the new systems with existing fingerprint databases. 19 figures, 19 tables, and 53 references

Date Published: February 1, 2014