Biometric Device

What Does Biometric Device Mean?

Biometric devices measure biological elements (like human features) in order to perform functions, such as logging health/fitness data and authenticating users. There are many different uses for the technology and a variety of methods for its implementation. Types of biometric data include visual, audio, spatial and behavioral.


Techopedia Explains Biometric Device

During the 1960s, the United States government sponsored a significant amount of biometric technology research, including face and fingerprint recognition. Over the following decades, many advancements were made to improve biometric scanning devices by government institutions like the FBI and NSA, as well as the U.S. military.

In 1992, the NSA initiated the Biometric Consortium in order to facilitate research and discussion on the development and expansion of biometric technology between government, industry and academia. In 1999, a widely influential essay called “Biometrics Personal Identification in Networked Society” was published, which identified seven key factors of biometric authentication:

  • Universality
  • Uniqueness
  • Permanence
  • Measurability
  • Performance
  • Acceptability
  • Circumvention

Biometric technology continues to make significant contributions to human-computer interaction, including brain wave measurement and even bodily-embedded microchips. Voice and fingerprint recognition are also both common forms of biometric scanning. A voice recognition device must use an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) to translate sound waves into digital data, which the device then processes to perform a certain function (such as speech transcription). Fingerprint recognition and other biometric authentication methods often compare and cross-reference input data with information stored in virtual or remote storage in order to validate its authenticity.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.