Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Computer Programs Improve Fingerprint Grading

Published: Friday, July 05, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, July 22, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Three computer programs used together can give fingerprint grading unprecedented consistency and objectivity, according to Penn State researchers.

"People leave behind all kinds of fingerprints, and the job of a forensic examiner is then to look at a fingerprint and identify a person who could have left it," said Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Charles Godfrey Binder Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Penn State. "Various scenarios can be envisioned where a fingerprint can be seriously altered. Once it is altered, it can conceivably lead the examiner to a false conclusion."

Fingerprints usually undergo environmental weathering and smudging. The condition of a fingerprint affects how reliable a match can be between a collected print and prints on record. Knowing a fingerprint's dependability can minimize the chance of a wrongful or delayed conviction.

Lakhtakia's team created a process using three inexpensive computer programs to grade a fingerprint for the availability of ridge detail for subsequent identification. Computerized grading ensures standardized evaluation to a degree finer than any human can accomplish.  They report their results in the current issue of Forensic Science International.

"The quality of a fingerprint can be graded finer than on a zero, one, two, three scale," Lakhtakia explained. "Two point three per cent is worse than fifteen per cent, but both could be graded as a zero by the naked eye. Humans can't grade finer than the zero to three scale. But computers can."

The three separate computer programs include the FBI's Universal Latent Workstation -- usually free to qualified agencies, the open-source image editor GIMP and a simple custom program written in Mathematica to count pixels.

Investigators photograph the fingerprint—developed for visualization or not—and run the picture through the Universal Latent Workstation. This program creates a simplified map of the fingerprint by designating colors to four area types. The background area is black, areas with definite ridges are white, and debatable regions are yellow and blue.

The GIMP editor converts the map file into an image file with red-green-blue color values. The RGB values are stored as number clusters that a computer program can easily translate into binary sequences useable in a mathematical equation.

A pixel-counting algorithm in Mathematica calculates the total percentage of white pixels from imported RGB pictures, essentially creating a grading scale ranging from 0 to 100. A high-quality fingerprint would have a high number of white pixels, while a potentially unreliable print would mostly appear in yellow and blue.

The ease and relative speed of this grading system may help to standardize fingerprint quality assessment in an inexpensive, efficient manner.

"The next step of this kind of research is, is there false detail created by development techniques?" Lakhtakia said. "That can happen. Looking at the thin-film technique that my group has developed, I don't imagine so, but we would obviously have to prove it."

Other researchers from Penn State on this project include Drew Pulsifer, graduate student in engineering science and mechanics; Sarah Muhlberger, fingerprint technician; Stephanie Williams, recent graduate in forensic science; and Robert Shaler, retired professor of forensic science.

The U.S. Department of Justice funded this research.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

3-D Model Links Facial Features and DNA
An international team of researchers is beginning to connect genetics with facial features, degrees of femininity and racial admixture.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Professor Leads Project to Breed Beans Resistant to Climate Stresses
With support from a $5 million grant, an international team will establish the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate-Resilient Beans.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Researcher Investigates the Role of Specialized Bone Marrow Cells
NIH Bridge Program scholar aims to slow bone metastasis.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Novel Nanoparticles Developed to Deliver Healing Drugs Directly to Bone Cracks
A novel method for delivering healing drugs to newly formed microcracks in bones may help patients with osteoporosis and other medical conditions.
Monday, September 09, 2013
Comprehensive Parkinson's Biomarker Test Has Prognostic and Diagnostic Value
First biomarker results reported from the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI).
Monday, September 02, 2013
Endangered Lemurs' Complete Genomes are Sequenced and Analyzed for Conservation
For the first time, the complete genomes of three separate populations of aye-ayes have been sequenced and analyzed in an effort to help guide conservation efforts.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Search begins for dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences
Penn State initiates U.S. wide search for candidates.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Students Develop Low-cost Water Filtering System for African Nation
In an effort to bring fresh water to rural Kenyans students of Penn State's Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) program develop a ceramic water filtration system.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Researchers Identify Gene Required for Nerve Regeneration
A gene that is associated with regeneration of injured nerve cells has been identified by scientists at Penn State and Duke University.
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Important Gene-Regulation Proteins Pinpointed by New Method
A novel technique has been developed and demonstrated at Penn State to map the proteins that read and regulate chromosomes.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Scientific News
RNAi Screening Trends
Understand current trends and learn which application areas are expected to gain in popularity over the next few years.
The Genetic Roots of Adolescent Scoliosis
Scientists at the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences in collaboration with Keio University in Japan have discovered a gene that is linked to susceptibility of Scoliosis.
A Gene-Sequence Swap Using CRISPR to Cure Haemophilia
For the first time chromosomal defects responsible for hemophilia have been corrected in patient-specific iPSCs using CRISPR-Cas9 nucleases
Experimental MERS Vaccine Shows Promise in Animal Studies
A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines.
New Tool Uses 'Drug Spillover' to Match Cancer Patients with Treatments
Researchers have developed a new tool that improves the ability to match drugs to disease: the Kinase Addiction Ranker (KAR) predicts what genetics are truly driving the cancer in any population of cells and chooses the best "kinase inhibitor" to silence these dangerous genetic causes of disease.
Understanding the Molecular Origin of Epigenetic Markers
Researchers at IRB Barcelona discover the molecular mechanism that determines how epigenetic markers influence gene expression.
HIV Susceptibility Linked to Little-Understood Immune Cell Class
High levels of diversity among immune cells called natural killer cells may strongly predispose people to infection by HIV, and may be driven by prior viral exposures, according to a new study.
Diagnostic Test Developed for Enterovirus D68
researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a diagnostic test to quickly detect enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), a respiratory virus that caused unusually severe illness in children last year.
How a Kernel Got Naked and Corn Became King
Ten thousand years ago, a golden grain got naked, brought people together and grew to become one of the top agricultural commodities on the planet.
Sweet Revenge Against Superbugs
A special type of synthetic sugar could be the latest weapon in the fight against superbugs.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!