The first known mention of fingerprints was back in 1823, although back then people didn’t know they could be used as a means of identification. Juan Vucetich, an Argentine policeman, invented the first method of recording fingerprints in 1879. The first person to be arrested and convicted based on their fingerprints was in 1902. Back then, people had to take one fingerprint from a suspect and another from a crime scene and then study them together under a magnifying glass to try and verify the criminals’ identity. Fingerprints were used as a means to identify a suspect both in real life and in fictional crime dramas more than 100 years ago; the 1903 Sherlock Holmes short story ‘The Norwood Builder’ involves the discovery of a bloody fingerprint, which Holmes used to find the criminal.
Things are very different now. Technology has moved in leaps and bounds over the last few decades, and what was once limited to police work and crime scenes is now available for high-security buildings, computers and even mobile phones! A fingerprint scanner picks up and identifies your unique fingerprint (think of it like a natural, in built identity card), and can be used to verify your identity.
What Are Fingerprints?
Almost all human beings have fingerprints, although a very small number of people have a condition called adermatoglyphia, which means their fingertips are completely smooth and they do not have fingerprints.
Fingerprints are basically the tiny and intricate patterns that all humans and primates have on their fingers, although you can also get prints from the sole of your foot. Scientist’s still aren’t entirely sure why we developed finger prints, but we think these tiny patters on your fingers may make it easier for your hands to grip things, and the tiny ridges and swirls on our fingers may be linked to our sense of touch. As it is easy to leave your fingerprint on glass and metal surfaces, fingerprints have been important for crime investigations for over 100 years. Your fingerprint can even identify you as a smoker or drug user, because the secretion of dead cells in your fingerprint contain residues of the various chemicals in your body.
Why do we have them?
Our fingerprints develop when we are still in the womb. A combination of DNA, the position you were in before you were born and even the exact fluid that was with you in the womb can all have an effect on the formation of your fingerprint. Fingerprints are completely formed by the time we turn seven months old, and unless you damage your fingers in some way your fingerprint will remain the same for life. As your fingerprint is a result of biological and environmental factors, it is very unlikely for two people to have the exact same fingerprint and there has never been a known case of two people with identical fingerprints. Even identical twins will have different fingerprints. Fingerprints can also last a really long time, and have been found in Egyptian tombs, Chinese pottery and ancient Roman bricks. Gorillas and Koalas also have fingerprints, and it can be quite difficult to tell the difference between human and koala fingerprints.
Whilst our unique fingerprints aren’t visible from the naked eye, fingerprint scanners allow us to magnify them so that we can see all the different grooves and patterns on an individuals finger. Whilst fingerprint scanning at the police station involves taking your fingerprint via an inkpad and then leaving your fingerprints on paper to be stored on a police database, other types of scanners require different technology. The most common types of scanners around today are optical and capacitance scanners.
An optical scanner uses CCD technology, which is the same light sensor system as used in digital cameras. A CCD is basically a collection of light sensitive photo sites, which generate an electric signal. It basically works by shining a light over your fingerprint and taking a photograph formed of light and dark pixels. These pixels then form an image, and if the image is clear, it can then be checked against other fingerprints in a given database.
This technology also creates an image of your fingerprint, but instead of using light to generate this image, capacitance scanners use electrical currents. These scanners are made up of sensors, which in turn are made up by semiconductor chips, which contain a number of minuscule cells. This sensor is connected to an electrical circuit built around a complex inverting operational amplifier device. This is a very complicated process, but it basically scans your finger by reading the voltage output and checking which bit of your fingerprint it is coming from, which allows it to create an over all image of your fingerprint.
Nature’s identity card
This means we all have a natural identity card literally right at our fingertips! Since their discovery, fingerprints have been very important for crime scenes; if you can get someone’s fingerprint, and if that person’s fingerprint is already registered on your data base, then you can easily find the criminal. They can also be very beneficial for added security; there are some buildings which will only allow you access if you scan your fingerprint, it can be used by schools in place of ID cards for things like library access and registration, and fingerprints have been used to log onto computers since the early 2000s. Click here to learn more about fingerprint scanning.
What Has All This Got To Do With Phones?
The Android 6.0 Marshmallow now supports fingerprint scanners on your device! This technology is different to optical and capacitive scanners as it uses ultrasonic sound. Your fingerprint is measured by an ultrasonic pulse, which is transmitted against the finger. It is important to make sure all of the finger is measured to create a clearer image. This technology, when used for a long period of time, can even be used to generate 3D fingerprints. It also works through thing surfaces, so you can still use the fingerprint technology through your phone case.
Enabling your fingerprint scanner to your android device allows you to control your phone via your fingerprints, with no need to waste time signing in. This new technology uses your fingerprints to unlock your phone, sign into apps from the Google Play-store and even make purchases. This innovative technology will not only save you time, but it will make your device truly personal and unique to you.
Sounds good, but how do I set it up?
If you have purchased a new Android smart-phone and you would like to set up your finger print scanner, we can help. With our simple how to guide below, you’ll be able to set up your own personal finger print scanner on your device in no time.
How To Set Up Fingerprint Scanning On Android.
This process has been tried and tested on a Nexus 5X, but the process need to be almost same on the Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Go to settings, then click on security and select Nexus Imprint. Click continue to proceed
For added security, Android will now ask you to set up a backup lock option such as a password, pin or pattern. This is standard as you will be adding your fingerprints for the first time, and it ensures that even if something goes wrong with the fingerprint scanner, your data remains safe. Choose pattern, pin or password to proceed. Remember to choose a memorable and strong pattern, pin or password.
You now have the choice to further protect your data by making your pattern, pin or password mandatory every time you turn on your device. Whilst not essential, we recommend you set this up. A physical copy of your fingerprint is fairly easy to counterfeit, but your unique pattern, pin or password can only be accessed by you, and two step verification is recommended so that your data remains secure. For added security, select ‘Require pin/password/pattern to start device’, or to decline simply tap ‘no thanks’.
You can now create your pattern; password or pin, so remember to choose something that is memorable for you but is strong enough that someone else can’t easily guess it. You can now also choose how your notifications will appear on your lock screen. You can choose to show all notifications, to hide sensitive content or you can choose no notifications at all.
Now you must locate the sensor on your device, which should be on the back of your phone. Put your finger on the sensor, and your device will begin capturing your fingerprint. Make sure every corner of your finger covers the sensor, so it can record your entire fingerprint for optimum accuracy. For the process to work, you must put your finger on the sensor and lift whenever you feel a vibration.
Your fingerprint has now been added. You will have the option to add another fingerprint, and you will be shown the fingerprint icon, which will appear every time you are required to use your fingerprint to authorize something. To add another fingerprint tap‘add another’, or if you are happy select ‘done’.
Note: You can add up to five fingerprints. Want to delete a fingerprint? Just go to Settings, click security and go to Nexus Imprint and enter the secondary lock I.e the pattern, pin or password. Then select the finger print and click delete to remove it. You will also have the option to delete all fingerprints from your device.
And that’s it! Fingerprint scanning isn’t just a cool new futuristic piece of tech, but it’s also super handy. With this imprint technology, you can unlock your phone securely without having to bother with entering a password or pin every single time. There are also various mobile apps, which support the fingerprint technology, so you can make the most of your fingerprint scanner.
Apps That Support Fingerprint Scanning
LastPass is an app that keeps track of all your passwords. You can sign into this app by using your fingerprints
Dashlane Password Manager is another app that keeps all your passwords safe in one location, and again it lets you log in with your fingerprint
USAA Mobile is a banking app that allows fingerprint scanning. When you first log in you must provide your user-name and password, after which you can enable the scanner.
Mint Bills helps you keep track of your finances; your budget and even reminds you when your next bill is due! This app can now be accessed via your fingerprint scanner
Focus is a photo gallery app. The best thing about Focus is that you can lock your gallery to one picture, so if you are showing your grandma a specific picture but don’t want her to see all the photos from your boozy Friday night; this is the app for you. This app supports fingerprint technology, so instead of having to remember your password you can access it in seconds.
Telegram is a popular messaging app which is now accessible from the swipe of a finger
Journey is a diary app. Always planned on starting a diary but never have the time? This app makes journal writing easier than ever before, and as it supports Fingerprint technology you can access it quickly and easily without ever needing to use a password.
EvolveSMS is an attractive messenger app that will make even the ugliest conversation beautiful. It supports your fingerprint scanner, so you can access it even faster.
Coin let’s your combine all your debit, credit and gift cards into one card that can be used online.
These are just some of the awesome apps that support your new fingerprint scanner, for more information and the complete list of apps click here.
Got any comments, queries or concerns? Let us know in the comment section below.