Integrated Biometrics VP David Gerulski recently traversed the globe attending multiple biometrics industry events and meeting with customers. The following is a Q&A with Dave about one of the major topics of conversation during his travels: Integrated Biometrics’ patented LES film.
Q: What exactly is LES film?
A. Exactly? LES stands for Light Emitting Sensor and it is a multilayer film, with a polymer composite containing nano-scale level particles that luminesce (give off light) in the presence of an electrical field.
Q: How does LES film work?
A. When a finger is placed on the film, the skin ridges of the fingerprint complete a low level electric circuit which causes the particles in the film to luminesce a narrow wavelength light, producing a very accurate, high-resolution analog image of the fingerprint on the opposite side of the film’s surface.
Q: How is LES film used in products developed by Integrated Biometrics?
A. The image generated on the opposite side of the film is captured via a CMOS or TFT camera.
Q: Why is LES film so attractive to system integrators?
A. Size, weight, accuracy and low power consumption are the key features integrators seek. LES film allows integrators to use their imagination when it comes to building small lightweight, robust and accurate fingerprint biometrics solutions. It’s having the same effect that the Intel chip had on mobile computing.
Q: Out of the dozens of leading fingerprint biometrics developers in the world, who else uses LES film in their products?
A. LES film was developed by Integrated Biometric engineers in South Korea and the U.S. The technology is patented here and other countries throughout the world. Integrated Biometrics owns the patents and is the sole producer of the film technology. However, biometric integrators around the world use the technology within their identity management solutions.
Q: What types of patents does Integrated Biometrics own for LES film?
A. Integrated Biometrics holds a variety of patents for its LES film technology. Some of these patents are based on process and methods while others protect its technology and inventions. There are over 30 base patents issued in both the U.S. and other countries throughout the world.
Q: Integrated Biometrics’ LES film is FBI-certified; what does that mean?
A. The United States has a fingerprint image quality specification called Personal Identity Verification (PIV). PIV defines a set of standards that applies to the quality of the fingerprint image. When these standards are achieved, the capture device is deemed to be “certified” at one of more levels of operation. Most countries in the world follow the FBI’s standards requirements.
There are two standards that apply to mobile ID in the United States: PIV and the FBI Appendix F. Appendix F, requires a sensor that is large enough to collect a roll fingerprint and must meet the FBI’s highest image quality requirements. Integrated Biometrics’ sensors are FBI-certified.
Q: What goes into the FBI certification process?
A. FBI Certification standards ensure consistency of quality, usability, and interoperability. PIV and Appendix F standards are managed by the FBI and their testing body, the MITRE Corporation. The process of certification is extremely rigorous and many biometric technologies never reach Appendix F certification.
Q: Who came up with the idea for LES film?
A. LES film technology is the result of thousands of man hours across multiple parties. Pegging any one person with the idea is hard to do at this point in time. Credit goes to all of the Integrated Biometrics engineers and engineering leaders who have made the application what it is today.
Q: What does LES film look like?
A. The film looks a lot like 35mm camera film. Remember that? It’s firm but flexible, very thin, and has a semi gloss finish. It is made in sizes as large as 89mm x 80mm and as small as 12mm x 12mm.
Q: Where is LES film manufactured?
A. LES film is currently manufactured in South Korea.
Q: What does FAP 30, 45, and 60 mean and how is it relevant to LES film?
A. FAP 30, 45 and 60 is a designation the FBI uses to determine the device capture dimensions, the image quality specification applied and the number of simultaneous fingers that can be captured. FAP stands for Fingerprint Acquisition Profile and Appendix F devices with a 3.2 X 3.0″ platen are designated FAP 60, 1.6 X 1.5″ is an FAP 45, and a PIV Certified FAP 30 sensor is 0.8 X 1.0”.
Q: What is the difference between LES film-based fingerprint technology and optical-based scanning technology?
A. Optical Sensors make use of Total Internal Reflection (TIR) technology to image the fingerprint. When a finger is placed on the glass platen a prism inside the unit causes ridges of the fingerprint to absorb the reflected light resulting in a “negative” image of the print in the camera.
Optical technologies are inherently prone to poor results in sunny or well-lit conditions. Latent prints left behind on the glass surface can be seen by the camera and require constant cleaning. They also have difficulty with dry fingers – try using one of these in arid conditions or on older people coming off planes. These are real limitations.
Daylight use of an optical sensor requires shading from sunlight or other bright light, so the camera can focus on light from the fingerprint. And extremely cold conditions are challenging as a warm fingers may cause condensation and fogging of the cold glass platen.
Q: You’ve been travelling the world; what one prediction can you make about the biometrics industry in 2016?
A: Biometrics are here to stay. There are a number of different solutions that are coming to fruition like iris, touchless fingerprint, facial recognition. My prediction is that you will see a very fast adoption of mobile biometric solutions. 2016 will be all about mobile devices used in identity management solutions around the world: police identifying perps in the field, military identifying terrorists at the source, coroners identifying victims on-site, customs officials identifying individuals on the beach. The solutions the industry has been talking about for years – mobile identification – is here. LES film has helped to make it possible.