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MM: Biometric ID System Uses Finger Buzzes

This week's Manufacturing Minute episode takes a look at a new biometric ID system.

It turns out that the bone structure of our dominant index finger is so unique to each person that it can be used to biometrically identify us.

Research at Rutgers University has led to VibWrite — which consists of a small motor that generates vibrations and a piezoelectric sensor that detects those vibrations when the system is embedded on a smooth surface.

When someone touches the area between the motor and senor, their finger absorbs and reflects some of the vibrations into the material, altering the trajectory of those vibrations.   

With the sensor registering the changes, the system can identify who is touching the surface based on how the finger bone’s structure affects the vibrations. For additional security, the surface could include a keypad for a PIN or pattern lock.

VibWrite could be used to unlock doors and has about a 95 percent accuracy rate so fare. It uses little electricity and is about one-tenth the cost of more sophisticated systems such as fingerprint-reading and iris-recognition.

The team continues to work on the tech and research how temperature, humidity and dust affect the outcomes. 

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