The 1960s saw the birth of modern biometric technology when scientists began to study and identify the physiological components in acoustic speech, paving the path towards the development of modern voice recognition technology. In 1969, the Federal Bureau of Investigation started pushing for automated fingerprint identification, which analyzes minutiae points in mapping unique patterns of fingerprints and ridges of fingerprints.
The FBI funded the first fingerprint scanners in 1975. The National Institute of Science and Technology began to work on algorithms and compression because digital storage costs were prohibitive. The FBI used the M40 algorithm to narrow down its human search. It produces a smaller number of images that trained and specialized human technicians can use for evaluation.
In the 1990s, biometric science took off, especially when the Department of Defence (DoD) and the Defense Advanced Research Products Agency (DARPA) funded face recognition algorithms for commercial markets. The FBI’s forensic DNA database, CODIS, can also store, search, and retrieve DNA markers.
Meanwhile, in the 2000s, West Virginia University introduced the first bachelor’s degree program in Biometric Systems and Computer Engineering. Additionally, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which promoted international collaboration in biometric research, helped pave the way for standardizing generic biotechnologies.
In addition to this, the biometric stage also saw the introduction of the palm print biomarker tech. To address fragmentation and adoption barriers in biometric technology, the European Biometric Forum was established. Face recognition has been accepted as a global biometric authentication for passports and other Machine-Readable Travel Documents (MRTDs).
Aside from this, biometrics were also used by United States Immigration to improve security and allow legitimate travelers to enter the country national using biometric data, such as fingerprints, voice, and DNA swabs.
Another recent advancement in biometric technology’s history is Apple’s introduction of Touch ID on the iPhone 5s in 2013. Touch ID, an integrated feature in iOS phones and other devices, allows users to unlock their devices and make purchases using fingerprint authentication. After the success of TouchID, Apple released the iPhone X that made use of facial recognition technology.
Today, 5G is becoming the future of biometric technology as it makes big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) more accessible. FIDO and W3C have established standards that can regulate biometrics. As passwordless authentication becomes more prominent, Fido2 certification becomes important when access barriers are falling away. Biometric-based security and technology are paving the way for wider acceptance of passwordless authentication to ensure data security.
For more information about the brief history of biometric technology, here is an article from LoginID.