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NIST Biometric Workshop Studies Voice, Dental, Oral Standards

voice print

A proposed voice supplement to the ANSI/NIST-ITL Standard could assist law enforcement to identify a person of interest by matching a voice sample (shown above) to voice data records, in a method similar to matching fingerprints.

Credit: NIST

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will host a workshop to discuss proposed supplements to the biometric data format standard that support voice recognition, dental and oral data, disaster victim identification and special data needs for mobile ID applications. The ANSI NIST-ITL Standard Workshop 2013 will meet Jan. 28-30, 2013, at the NIST Gaithersburg, Md., campus.

Biometric data standards specify formats and data necessary to accurately exchange biometric identification information between different agencies and systems. In November 2011, NIST published a revised biometric data transfer standard* that greatly expanded the type and amount of information forensic scientists can share across international networks to identify victims and support criminal investigations. A little more than a year after the 2011 revision, two working groups will be presenting proposed additions to the standard.

A proposed data record developed by one working group for recognizing voices could enable law enforcement agencies to identify, for example, a caller of potential interest by matching their voice sample to voice data collected from prior bookings. The standard data record would note the type of recording equipment used and other details useful in the analysis of the voice recording.

A working group of international dental and forensic experts has developed a draft dental and oral biometric data record that would ease identification of bodies in disasters such as an airplane crash. For instance, if bodies are burned beyond recognition, photographs or fingerprints might not offer practical means of identification; in such instances, forensic analysts turn next to dental and oral information. Developing this standard was challenging due to the variety of ways dentists around the keep dental records, but could offer an interoperable mechanism to exchange such information in the future.

"Oral" measurements and images include attributes such as lip prints and soft palate impressions. Lip prints can sometimes be linked to specific persons and may be found on objects at crime scenes.

The proposed Dental and Oral Supplement would enable the exchange of images and descriptions of pattern injuries on persons, some of which may resemble bite marks, and to allow transmission of imagery such as X-rays and sonograms.

The workshop also will collect information to develop recommended best practices for identifying disaster victims. A panel will discuss the use of various biometric data in identifying victims, including DNA, facial characteristics, tattoos, dental records and fingerprints. This project is in conjunction with the international Scientific Working Group for Disaster Victim Identification (

An entire day will be spent considering a special "lighter" data format for mobile ID systems—to reduce the amount of information required and speed up data transmission—for agents or warfighters in the field. For instance, this could facilitate use of a handheld device that would keep one arm free at all times for the data-gatherer's safety—not requiring data entry on a keyboard.

NIST will also be sharing and requesting comments on its idea to develop a database and tools to facilitate development of automated systems that can be used to identify certain unique objects such as bullets, cartridges, tire tracks, shoe prints and inks.

Registration information for the ANSI/NIST-ITL Standard Workshop 2013 may be found online.  The registration deadline is January 22, 2013.

* See the Dec. 6, 2011, story, "New NIST Biometric Data Standard Adds DNA, Footmarks and Enhanced Fingerprint Descriptions." The ANSI/NIST-ITL standard, Data Format for the Interchange of Fingerprint, Facial & Other Biometric Information, is available at

Released January 14, 2013, Updated January 31, 2023