Types Of Biometrics: Simplified For 2021

Ajay Ohri


Biometrics is a combinational word from Greece that literally means to measure life using types of biometrics. This field can measure the behavioural and physical characteristic unique to every life form and is especially so in the context of humans. It is the chosen identification methodology for identification and scores over the traditional ways of using passwords, PINs, etc., where case-sensitivity and exactness matter. Biometric devices help in the authentication and identification of biometric systems as they use a variety of unique human features like fingerprints, vein patterns, DNA sequencing, hand geometry, iris pattern, voice pattern, face detection and signature dynamics that are unique to the individual.

  1. Biometric Sensor
  2. List of different types of biometrics

1. Biometric Sensor

What a biometric machine sensor does is that it uses a transducer to change the biometric trait into a unique electrical signal or types of biometrics. Several types like fingerprints, face, iris, voice etc., mean that several types of readers are present. Their biometric sensors are designed to measure and read factors like temperature, light, speed, energy and electrical capacity in what is biometrics.

Various kinds of technology enable digital cameras, sensor panels, networks and combinations of various types of biometric devices to capture the biometric signal, with each feature captured requiring a different type of sensor. Identity technology and how biometric works typically involves a facial recognition HD camera, voice capture microphones and, in some cases, sophisticated readers of the skin vein patterns.

2. List of different types of biometrics

The sensors used in the biometric analysis may be divided into 2 main types of biometrics. Namely, 

Behavioural Biometrics:  Behavioral biometrics applications typically include the recognition of signature, keystroke, voice pattern recognition etc.

Physiological Biometrics: Physiological feature recognition of hand geometry, DNA, fingerprints, face recognition etc., are used in physiological biometrics and identity verification. 

Discussed below are popular types of biometrics and systems.

1. Face Recognition

Facial recognition systems use 80 facial nodal points to compare the captured image to the system’s image and typically include variables like width/length of the nose, eye socket depth, cheekbone shapes and more. They are widely used in security systems with biometric techniques like facial recognition technology in laptops, smartphones, home alarm systems etc. Faceprints are captured and stored. Applications on smartphones like Facebook use it to tag the users in a photograph. Others use these types of biometrics for social networking, personal marketing and financial security applications. Billboards that automatically capture gender, estimated age, and ethnicity use biometrics to deliver targeted and personalized marketing strategies.

2. Fingerprint Recognition

This branch of technology called Fingerprint Recognition captures an image of the fingerprint of an individual and then records its distinct features like patterns in whorls, arches, edge or outline loops, furrows and the minutiae of the print in biometric fingerprint scanners.

Capturing fingerprint biometric images may be achieved using.

  • Optical sensors using CCD or CMOS image sensors.
  • Solid-state transducer sensors capturing features like the electric field, thermal, piezoelectric or capacitive energy signals. 
  • Ultrasound sensors capturing the transmitted acoustic signals in a receiver used for fingerprint capture in echography.

When using fingerprinting matching, one can use any of the following 3 ways of types of biometrics to match the fingerprint with the stored fingerprint.

  • Ridge pattern comparison and fingerprint matching use the ridges as a comparison feature and scores over the fingerprint capturing of minutiae-based images, which suffer when using prints captured in low quality.
  • Correlation fingerprint matching is done by overlaying the 2 images of fingerprints and calculating the equivalent pixel association between them to match their association.
  • Minutiae based matching of fingerprints is done in biometrics examples by comparing the input minutiae and the stored set of points on a plane stored in the system. If corresponding points are matched, then fingerprint matching is accurately read. However, low-quality input prints are not accurately matched in this method.

Fingerprint scanning is extremely reliable and stable. Several types of biometrics are used for security in electronic door locks on buildings, marking of attendance and movement on factory floors, bank ATM’s with fingerprint authenticators and even access to particular networks of computers.

3. Voice Recognition

The human voice pattern is also a very complex signal that uses speech technology and captures speech patterns for comparison, including several physiological and behavioural patterns like fundamental frequency, cadence, nasal tone, voice inflexion, etc. Several categories exist in these types of biometrics which depend on techniques used like text-dependent method, fixed text method, conversational techniques and text-independent method. 

4. Iris Recognition

In the field of iris pattern recognition, the eye’s types of biometrics captured are used to match and identify the iris pattern of individuals scanned. The ring of the eye’s pupil has different colourations like green, brown or blue with individual patterns that are difficult to replicate in an iris sensor. Hence this method has excellent reliability for high-security uses.

5. Signature Recognition

In this biometric method, the captured visual images of a signature are checked against the system-stored signature for various types of biometrics/parameters like speed, stroke order, the pressure applied, etc. It can operate in any of the following 2 ways.

  • The static mode where the optical scanner and digital camera are used to capture a customer’s signature on paper to examine and store the signature’s shape and other parameters.
  • The dynamic mode wherein a digitized tablet is used to capture the consumer’s signature to obtain a real-time image which is then stored for unique identification. A PDA, which is stylus operated, can also be used. Smartphones use a pen or finger on a capacitive screen with unique unlocking patterns in what is also called “on-line” capture of signature prints.


Various types of biometrics, sensors and technology are today widely used to better the security features of organizations, devices, door locks, alarms, holograms, patent protection, copyright protection, marketing targeted strategies and more for their unique ability to recognize features that are very difficult to replicate and uniquely identify any individual.

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