Jan 25, 2011

What is Biometrics?

Some of you readers (or would be readers) may be asking yourself "well... what exactly is Biometrics?" Great question! In order to get the most out of this blog you should be familiar with the definition of the central topic.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary Biometrics is:

the measurement and analysis of unique physical or behavioral characteristics (as fingerprint or voice patterns) especially as a means of verifying personal identity.”

This term was first coined in 1902 and comes from the Greek word bios meaning life, and the Latin word metria meaning to measure.  So the word literally means to measure life. 

The great thing about being able to measure something is that you can effectively quantify it.  In order for Biometrics to work, the basic premise is that a part of your body is being measured (more on that later), and that measurement is being compared to the measurement already on file.  If the computer determines that there is a close enough match then you are authorized to enter, use, open, etc.  

So what is the point of Biometrics? It’s all about security. Whereas traditional security mechanisms such as keys, signatures, pin codes and the like are (relatively) easy to break or forge, a Biometric measurement (depending on type) is almost impossible to duplicate without using the bios that created it.  Biometrics has countless applications ranging from government use, through keeping corporate secrets a secret, to letting you login to your laptop.  The field of Biometrics is ever expanding and getting more sophisticated by the day.  One day the only key/password you will ever have to carry might be your finger, no more lost keys... as long as your appendages stay attached.

One more thing.  As much as I know you all love my blog design (still under construction, be patient) I recommend you check out Readability.  What Readability does is redesign any article online (like my awesome blog, New York Times, CNN, etc.) into an easy to read newspaper  like layout.  If you are like me you would much rather get to your news without the annoying ads and pop-ups layered all over web pages then Readability is for you.  Give it a whirl and let me know what you think about it.


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