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

Kotzerke, J, Davis, S, McVernon, J and Horadam, K 2018, 'Steps to solving the infant biometric problem with ridge-based biometrics', IET Biometrics, vol. 7, no. 6, pp. 567-572.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Steps to solving the infant biometric problem with ridge-based biometrics
Author(s) Kotzerke, J
Davis, S
McVernon, J
Horadam, K
Year 2018
Journal name IET Biometrics
Volume number 7
Issue number 6
Start page 567
End page 572
Total pages 6
Publisher Institution of Engineering and Technology
Abstract 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-ridge skin as a potential answer: the ball under the big toe. The ballprint is readily accessible, with more features and larger ridges than a fingerprint. The authors followed 54 newborns for 2 years, capturing their ballprints 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 ballprint 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 ballprints as a practical means of infant identification, by themselves, or together or sequentially with other biometrics.
Subject Community Child Health
Computer Vision
DOI - identifier 10.1049/iet-bmt.2017.0282
Copyright notice © This is an open access article published by the IET under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License (
ISSN 2047-4938
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