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University of Massachusetts Lowell 3D Contactless Fingerprint Scanner: Technology Evaluation (Version 2)

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2013
28 pages

This report presents the methodology and findings of the testing and evaluation of prototype contactless fingerprint scanning devices developed for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) by the University of Massachusetts Lowell.


The conclusion is that the prototypes produced and tested are not suitable for field deployment or operational evaluation by criminal justice organizations due to their various technology and functional shortcomings. As of the fourth quarter of 2012, three prototypes had been provided for testing. The first prototype required local power (an AC outlet) in order to function. The second two prototypes include battery packs intended to enable mobility; however, the batteries provided did not supply the power needed for operation. After being notified of this, the developer (the Sensors, Surveillance, and Biometrics Center of Excellence), provided no explanation or correction. One of the final two prototypes has an issue with scanning single fingers, causing the image to be severely distorted. At least two of the prototypes delivered will require some adjustments to the mirror alignments prior to further research use. Image scans from the three systems all include some level of image-quality issues, with the first scanner producing acceptable images but with minor alignment/quality issues, and the third scanner has significant warping and distortion. Still, the prototypes provide insight into the potential utility of contactless fingerprint scanners. They are most useful in research that examines the effects of fingerprint deformation due to pressure when using traditional contact scanners. The prototypes delivered are primarily stand-alone scanners without any underlying biometric database or matching capability. The single-finger scanner (when properly calibrated) provides full nail-to-nail rolled-equivalent fingerprints. 20 figures, 3 tables, and appended acronyms and abbreviations

Date Published: October 1, 2013