Automated Biometric Identification System.

Application Program Interface (API)

A set of protocols use to standardize an application by a developer. For example, an API may be added or interchanged by an application developer into any biometric system.

Behavioral Biometric Characteristic

A biometric characteristic that is learned and acquired over time rather than one based primarily on biology. All biometric characteristics depend somewhat upon both behavioral and biological characteristic. Examples of biometric modalities for which behavioral characteristics may dominate include signature recognition and keystroke dynamics.


A physical trait or pattern which is unique to every individual. It often used to verify and authenticate a person’s identity who is enrolled into a system. Biometric patterns can be anything from fingerprints, iris scans, facial recognition or even voice recognition.

Biometric data

A sample taken from individual which is unique to their own person. Common biometric data are: fingerprint, voice and iris scans, palm vein patterns and even facial patterns.

Biometric Technology

A system or application which is designed to employ biometric data. It can also be classified further according to the type of biometrics being used in the system.


These are servers that can be accessed through the internet, do not require installation of servers and supporting hardware, run on data centers all over the world, and are open to the use of many parties.

Crime Scene Prints

Prints that belong to crime suspects and collected from crime scenes to be processed as evidence are called crime scene prints.

Deep Learning

Deep learning is a kind of machine learning that imitates the way the human brain learn and processes information via artificial neural networks.


The conversion of any biometric data into a code which cannot be easily read. A password may be used to decrypt or decode the data.


The user who has their biometric template entered into the system.


The process of converting a captured biometric sample into biometric data so that it can be compared to a reference.

FAR-False Acceptance Rate

A statistic used to measure biometric performance when operating in the verification task. The percentage of times a system produces a false accept, which occurs when an individual is incorrectly matched to another individual’s existing biometric. Example: Frank claims to be John and the system verifies the claim.

Flat Prints

Prints that are taken by putting the down-facing fingers on a scanning surface.

FRVT-Face Recognition Vendor Test

A series of large-scale independent technology evaluations of face recognition systems.

Inkblot Print

Fingerprints that are taken by pressing the finger on an ink-soaked surface, then pressing it on paper.

ISO-International Organization for Standardization

A non-governmental network of the national standards institutes from 151 countries. The ISO acts as a bridging organization in which a consensus can be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society, such as the needs of stakeholder groups like consumers and users.

Liveness Detection

A technique used to ensure that the biometric sample submitted is from an end user. A liveness detection method can help protect the system against some types of spoofing attacks.


The waves, endings, ridges that give the papillary lines their unique form are called minutiae. The distance between these distinctive marks are measured in lines. Comparing the minutiae in two fingerprint images gives us information on whether the two prints belong to the same person or finger.

NIST-National Institute of Standards and Technology

A non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that develops and promotes measurement, standards, and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade, and improve the quality of life. NIST’s measurement and standards work promotes the well-being of the nation and helps improve, among many others things, the nation’s homeland security.

Papillary lines

Each fingerprint features unique lines called papillary lines. Since papillary lines are formed randomly during embryonic gestation, no papillary structure is the same as the other. It is these papillary lines that give the fingerprint its identifying and distin¬ctive form.

Physiological or Physical Biometric

A physical characteristic used as biometric data. This includes: fingerprints, face recognition, ear shape, iris recognition, palm and retina scans.

Rolled Prints

Prints taken by rolling a finger from nail to nail on a scanning surface.

Similarity Score

A value returned by a biometric algorithm that indicates the degree of similarity or correlation between a biometric sample and a reference.


Prints taken from known persons during the issuing of passports, next generation identity cards and the registration process of citizens and immigrants are known as tenprint.

Throughput Rate

The number of biometric transactions that a biometric system processes within a stated time interval.


The process of comparing a biometric sample with the biometric data in the system whose identity is claimed.


A term sometimes referred to as open-set identification that describes one of the three tasks that biometric systems perform. Answers the questions: Is this person in the database? If so, who are they? The biometric system determines if the individual’s biometric template matches a biometric template of someone on the watchlist. The individual does not make an identity claim, and in some cases does not personally interact with the system whatsoever.


A limited sequence of instructions or steps that tells a computer system how to solve a particular problem. A biometric system will have multiple algorithms, for example: image processing, template generation, comparisons, etc.


1. The process of establishing confidence in the truth of some claim. The claim could be any declarative statement for example: “This individual’s name is ‘Joseph K.’ " or "This child is more than 5 feet tall.” 2. In biometrics, “authentication” is sometimes used as a generic synonym for verification.

Biological Biometric Characteristic

A biometric characteristic based primarily on an anatomical or physiological characteristic, rather than a learned behavior. All biometric characteristics depend somewhat upon both behavioral and biological characteristic. Examples of biometric modalities for which biological characteristics may dominate include fingerprint and hand geometry.

Biometric Application

The implementation of any system that involves biometric data.

Biometric Identification Device

Gathers, reads an compares biometric data.


The process of collecting biometric data from the end user or enrollee. Most biometric data are “capture” by use of an image scanner in cases of fingerprints, palm vein patterns or a camera to collect facial an iris scans.

Core Point

The "center(s)" of a fingerprint. In a whorl pattern, the core point is found in the middle of the spiral/circles. In a loop pattern, the core point is found in the top region of the innermost loop. More technically, a core point is defined as the topmost point on the innermost upwardly curving friction ridgeline. A fingerprint may have multiple cores or no cores.


A collection of one or more computer files. For biometric systems, these files could consist of biometric sensor readings, templates, match results, related end user information, etc.


Abbreviated form of “electronic gate”, e-gate describes structures that can perform multi-step identifications and ID verifications or biometrically register citizens via multiple biometric scanners and card readers integrated into one system and routinely situated at airports, border checkpoints, and important government buildings.

End User

The individual who will interact with the system to enroll, to verify, or to identify.


Gathering and processing of biometric data with the intent of storing them into a database.

Face Recognition

A biometric modality that uses an image of the visible physical structure of an individual’s face for recognition purposes.

Fingerprint Recognition

A biometric modality that uses the physical structure of an individual’s fingerprint for recognition purposes. Important features used in most fingerprint recognition systems are minutiae points that include bifurcations and ridge endings.

FRR-False Rejection Rate:

A statistic used to measure biometric performance when operating in the verification task. The percentage of times the system produces a false reject. A false reject occurs when an individual is not matched to his/her own existing biometric template. Example: John claims to be John, but the system incorrectly denies the claim.

Identification or Identity

Biometric sample which is matched against templates and other biometric references.

Iris Recognition

A biometric modality that uses an image of the physical structure of an individual’s iris for recognition purposes. The iris muscle is the colored portion of the eye surrounding the pupil.

Live Capture

The actual process of gathering biometric sample from a live user using a biometric system.

Match or Matching

The process of matching a template versus a submitted biometric sample. It is then rejected or accepted based on the whether the score has met the threshold or not.

Mobile Biometrics Center

Mobile biometrics centers are vehicular structures designed to offer the whole range of biometric technologies and solutions at anytime and anywhere needed. They are trucks, buses, or trailer vehicles equipped with biometric scanners and biometric evidence and data analysis softwares that are aimed to serve the needs of the law enforcement in the field.

Palm Print Recognition

A biometric modality that uses the physical structure of an individual’s palm print for recognition purposes.

Personal Identification Number (PIN)

Usually a four digit number is entered into a system to gain access.


A generic term used in the description of biometric systems (e.g. face recognition or iris recognition) relating to their fundamental function. The term “recognition” does not inherently imply the verification, closed-set identification or open-set identification (watchlist).


Hardware found on a biometric device that converts biometric input into a digital signal and conveys this information to the processing device.

Slap Fingerprint

Fingerprints taken by simultaneously pressing the four fingers of one hand onto a scanner or a fingerprint card. Slaps are known as four finger simultaneous plain impressions.

Tenprint Card

These are files that contain a person’s slap impression and rolled fingerprints along with the person’s facial image and demographic information.


The client of any biometric vendor. Essentially, they are the clients that purchase the technology but may or may not enroll themselves into the system. End-users are those who enroll their biometric data into the system.


A task where the biometric system attempts to confirm an individual’s claimed identity by comparing a submitted sample to one or more previously enrolled templates.