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The Mobile Fingerprinting Innovation Technology Challenge

Mobile Fingerprint Challenge logo

Advancing Mobile Fingerprint Capture Technology for Law Enforcement 

PSCR is hosting the Mobile Fingerprinting Innovation Technology Challenge (mFIT Challenge) to advance mobile fingerprint capture technologies by asking contestants to build and demonstrate prototype applications and/or mobile device accessories for fingerprint capture by field law enforcement officers. Improvements in mobile fingerprint capture technology will allow first responders to perform their mission in the field more efficiently while not requiring them to carry additional equipment or having to transport individuals to fingerprinting facilities. The First Responders Network Authority and AT&T Corporation are partnering with PSCR on this challenge.

The mFIT Challenge has two phases, a concept paper phase and a prototype phase, with awards up to $430,000. Make a difference for public safety first responders! Join us on September 22 for the Challenge Kickoff Webinar and submit your concept paper on the mFIT website by 5:00 PM (ET) on October 18, 2021.

Summary of Important dates:

  • September 16, 2021: mFIT Challenge is open for Concept Paper submissions; begin Phase 1 of 2
  • September 22, 2021, 12:00 PM (ET): Phase 1 Kickoff Webinar (watch recording here)
  • October 18, 2021: mFIT Challenge Phase 1 is closed for submissions
  • November 10, 2021: Phase 1 winners announced; begin Phase 2
  • November 17, 2021: Phase 2 Kickoff Webinar (register here)
  • March 14, 2022: Walk-on contestants and Phase 1 Winners send their letters of intent to enter Phase 2 of the challenge
  • April 4, 2022: Walk-on contestants and Phase 1 Winners submit their prototypes and digital materials
  • May 4, 2022: Phase 2 Winners announced

Challenge Background

Identity verification is essential for firearm licensing, criminal background checks, employment eligibility, and protecting vulnerable populations. In addition, law enforcement personnel often encounter individuals in situations when the confirmation of the persons’ identity or a background check is necessary. If the individual does not have proper identification or is possibly using a false identity, officers can capture fingerprint images and compare the images to national, state, or local identity databases to help determine the individual’s identity. This information can help the officer make a better decision on whether to release the individual or hold them for further processing.

In a typical situation where a law enforcement officer needs to run a full identification check with fingerprint search, the law enforcement officer would possibly need to transport the individual to a facility for processing. Fingerprint images are critical because fingerprint data can be extremely helpful in the proper identification of an individual. However, shortages in personnel and equipment resources, as well as health and environmental factors, limit the ability of law enforcement to process and transport individuals to fingerprinting facilities.

Developing or improving fingerprint capture solutions that are more convenient and cost effective for use by field officers would minimize the financial and logistical burden on public safety organizations while ensuring officers have access to relevant identification databases. This prize challenge aims to create or improve an application on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, that accesses the device sensors and captures and processes high-quality digital fingerprint images that are interoperable with existing fingerprint management systems. Solutions may use contactless, contact-based, or a combination of technologies.

Challenge Goals and Objectives 

This challenge seeks innovative new or improved mobile applications that access the available sensors on mobile devices to capture high-quality digital fingerprint images, thereby improving the performance and efficiency of identification in the field. Contestants are asked to submit a mobile application that captures quality digital images of at least two fingers (including index and middle) on the left and right hands. Contestants are encouraged to bridge technology gaps identified in the Official Rules and innovate in any area that would improve the accuracy and quality of results. The ultimate objective of this challenge is to advance technology while preserving the form factor of the mobile device. Law enforcement officers explicitly do not want to carry additional equipment; however, a contestant’s prototype may modify the form factor with justification.

Questions? 

For questions about this challenge, send an email to psprizes [at] nist.gov. Please visit the challenge website  https://www.mfitprize.com to register for announcements and download the mFIT Challenge official rules. You can also find this challenge on Challenge.gov.

Created June 18, 2021, Updated October 7, 2021