Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) researchers have developed an electronic fingerprint system that allows for faster, more accurate identity matches. Development was made possible thanks to a multimillion-rand grant from the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The system will be used by government entities, such as the Home Affairs Department, which captures fingerprints on a daily basis, or the South African Police Service in its fight against crime. It is to be used when fingerprint are presented to the system without an attached identity. The system is then required to establish the user's identity by looking for a match against a number of fingerprint templates within a database, known as a one-to-many match, this process is complex and time-consuming.
One way to shorten the search process is to sort fingerprints into various classes, based on specific features, resulting in class-based search, rather than a search that is based on the entire database. This speeds up the process significantly. The CSIR system includes five fingerprint classes, but allows for these classes to be extended further.
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