Biometric Identity

Biometric Industry & Academia Gather for IARPA N2N Fingerprint Challenge


I just returned from participating in last week’s human-subject testing for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s Nail to Nail Fingerprint Challenge. The event was program managed by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) organization.

It was great to see industry and academia support and participation for this project.

The goal of the project was to test autonomous nail to nail fingerprint capture devices and compare the captured images against those captured with a livescan industry standard—Crossmatch L Scan palm scanners—and against latent print images collected by forensic specialists and professionals.

Multiple agencies were involved organizing and running the event, yet the schedule and test flow was well communicated and executed with great precision. The test facility and staff were very supportive and helpful with solving technical issues.

Acting as prime, Crossmatch teamed with ISORG and FlexEnable to build a proof-of-concept device, which mechanically wrapped a flexible sensor around a single finger to capture a nail to nail equivalent print.

Since the sensor was 500 ppi and planar, there was no need to resample or stitch multiple images to generate the nail to nail image.

As part of the design of the exercise, operators could only give instructions for how to interact with the scanner. No operator contact with the subject being printed was permitted.

We were very pleased with how our prototype performed.  In most cases, we completed a set of 10 rolled prints in well under 50 percent of the allotted capture time.  Also, the feedback we received from volunteers was that our prototype was very intuitive and easy to interact with to scan fingerprints.

There were many vendors testing variations of their existing contact and contactless products as well as a few interesting university entries.

The data collected from this exercise will serve the industry well for many years in improving and advancing the development of future autonomous livescan nail to nail fingerprint scanner development.

Congratulations to all the participants, and to IARPA for conducting a well-run event. We look forward to participating in future testing cycles.

Bill McClurg is responsible for identifying emerging technologies, overseeing technology development and engineering programs specifically focused on new product development. He is an industry veteran, having spent over sixteen years with Crossmatch. Prior to that, Bill held high-level engineering positions with Motorola, Elliott Energy Systems and Laboratory Data Control. His technical expertise includes electronics, optics, electro-optics, software, system design and manufacturing. Additionally, he holds patents in software, optics and electrical engineering. Bill holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the Florida Atlantic University.
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