Conventional fingerprint sensors require a person to touch the device platen or sensor. Disadvantages to this mode of acquisition include the time required to collect (particularly rolled)prints as well as hygiene concerns. The government has funded research for the development of fast-capture non-contact tenprint collection devices for over a decade. Viable solutions have proven difficult, and very few devices have made their way out the laboratory to market. NIST has been conducting standards and testing methodology research in order to support the entry of contactless fingerprint capture devices into the marketplace.
Images produced by a contactless device are fundamentally different from conventional scanned ink and livescan fingerprints. They differ in both distortion characteristics and image sensor characteristics. New pathways for device certification must be developed for contactless fingerprinting, and these new contactless fingerprint images must be matchable to conventional fingerprints.
NIST invites contactless fingerprint device developers to participate in a strategic and essential Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). The objective of this program is to produce open testing methods, metrics, and artifacts that will support future certification of these types of devices for inclusion on Government Certified Products Lists. For more information regarding this Program and how to participate see here.