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Council for Scientific and Industrial Research South Africa | Pretoria

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Fingerprint Sensor: Laser Identity Verification

What would happen if you don’t have fingerprints? Burns, ageing, solvents and a number of other conditions could remove your obvious external fingerprint. Our technology allows a sub-dermal scan of the finger using a laser to obtain a print even if there is superficial damage to the finger pad (we call this an internal finger print). This innovation will be particularly useful for crime scenes, as the laser scan can be carried out without disturbing the crime scene. Additionally, the laser is capable of identifying faked fingerprints.

Relevant intellectual property protection in place for this technology.
Registerable IP
What is the technology owner looking for? E.g. collaboration, investment, sales, etc.
Collaboration Distribution Investment Licensing Manufacturing Partnership Pilot
Brief description of the technology’s market need.

As this technology can identify both internal and external fingerprints, as safety, security and issues resulting from escalating crime become more and more prevalent, this technology has numerous sites of application. These include: 1) Forensic and crime related biometric identification 2) Banks and other organizations that require identity verification via biometric data 3) Security at department of home affairs, foreign travel, border security, and immigration control 4) Any site where fingerprint or restricted access is required such as mines, department of health, SAPS, department of defense, department of agriculture, repository sites and offices 5) Biomedical imaging.

Brief description of the technology’s benefits.

The OCT is a fingerprinting device that is capable of acquiring both external and internal fingerprints, thus enhancing fingerprint acquisition and providing fake detection. It is useful in dealing with various problems which come with conventional fingerprints such as damaged fingerprints or cases where individuals are trying to falsify fingerprints. The OCT machine is also useful in instances where there is a crime scene. The device has the ability to extract latent fingerprints from a crime scene without interfering or tampering with the evidence.

The attributes of the technology that makes it unique.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive, non-contact imaging technique, capable of yielding both surface (topical) and sub-surface (subdermal) morphology images in both 2D and 3D. The system employs a laser as the optical source. In addition to numerous applications in the biomedical imaging field, OCT can also be used for biometric data acquisition. Additionally, the time taken to complete a scan has been reduced from 10 seconds to 2 seconds, covering a surface area of 25mm2, making it far more efficient and effective.

The main idea behind the technology is described.

The OCT system is a biometric tool aimed capable of overcoming the challenges experienced when lifting damaged fingerprints at a crime scene or faked conventional fingerprints.

The team and expertise behind the technology.

This OCT system was made possible by the collaborative effort between the National Laser Centre (NLC) and Modelling Digital Sciences (MDS). Our highly specialized team includes an electronic engineer, software developer, biometrics specialist and a laser physicist

The technology was developed by an organisation in the following sector(s).
Public research organisation
The industry(s) relevant to the technology. Which industries can benefit from this technology?
All government (local, provincial and national) activities Health and social work
The Technology Readiness Level of the available technology. For more information on the Technology Readiness Levels, please follow the link: Technology Readiness Levels
TRL 7: Validation of technology in the real-world
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