Steps to solving the infant biometric problem with ridge-based biometrics

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Johannes Kotzerke1 , Stephen A. Davis1, Jodie McVernon2, Kathy J. Horadam1 . Steps to solving the infant biometric problem with ridge-based biometrics. (February 2018) IET Biometrics. doi: 10.1049/iet-bmt.2017.0282.


The  pressing  infant  biometric  problem  is  to  find  a  biometric  means  to  identify  infants  cheaply,  reliably,  and automatically. Physical  traits of infants  are  tiny, delicate,  and  grow rapidly. The authors  focus  on  a novel area  of  friction-ridgeskin as a  potential answer: the  ball under the  big toe. The  ball print is readily  accessible, with more  features and larger  ridges than  a  fingerprint.  The authors  followed  54  newborns for  2 years,  capturing  their  ball prints with  an  adult  fingerprint scanner within 3 days of birth, at 2  months, at 6 months, and at 2 years. The  authors show the growth of the ball print  is isotropic rather than affine during infancy. The isotropic growth rate from birth can be measured by the change in inter-ridge spacing, which the authors show precisely mirrors change in physical length from birth, as recorded by World Health Organisation for large, diverse infant  populations.  From  2 months  of  age,  by  using  isotropic  scaling  to  compensate  for  growth,  the  authors  successfully matched good  quality images with 0% equal error rate using existing adult fingerprint  technology, even for  captures 22 months apart.  These  findings flag  the  value  of  ball prints as  a  practical  means of  infant  identification,  by themselves,  or  together  or sequentially with other biometrics.


1 School of Science, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

2 The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, The University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia .