Description of Work

The objective of the project is to develop and evaluate innovative technologies for fingerprint live scanners that support the examination of additional biometrics associated with the finger. INGRESS proposes the development of technologies to address the issue of very bad fingerprint images obtained from fingers with superficial skin disorders and therefore ensure that citizens are not inconvenienced, through no fault of their own, by the inability to use biometric technology as foreseen by policy directives.

The specific scientific and technological objectives of the project are:

  • Define stakeholders requirements and architectural framework for designing fingerprint readers
  • Define privacy by design approaches and constraints to be followed during the project
  • Design and develop several mock-ups of various innovative technologies (ultrasound, OCT, OLED) to measure sub-surface fingerprints
  • Generate fingerprint image of high-quality by detecting fingerprint alterations, processing data from innovative readers and merging information from both standard and improved fingerprint readers
  • Assess the operational quality of innovative fingerprint sensing technologies developed in the project
  • Evaluate technologies implemented with respect to the use cases defined, in a context suitable for border control and law enforcement applications
  • Evaluate the implemented technologies on poor quality captured images which have failed the EU Quality toolkit for the EU VIS
  • Provide a R&D development work with appropriate ethical and legal framework, so that end-products will be compliant with European privacy trends
  • Disseminate, valorise and contribute to standardisation, transfer INGRESS knowledge to stakeholders and potential users

Overcoming the problem of damaged fingers is at the core of INGRESS, firstly by the choice of appropriate capturing technologies allowing the access to information beyond the deteriorated ridges, secondly by the development of software approaches detecting and matching altered fingerprints by taking advantage of the underlying dermal layer (acting as a blueprint of the epidermal friction ridge skin). The OCT and ultrasound technologies will make possible to take information of fingerprints under the skin. The patterns that will be revealed thanks to these new techniques will come from the dermis “matrix”. Some biometric elements lying in this deeper layer will then become visible and will complement traditional fingerprints that current technologies are already able to acquire and for which they have made improvements during the last decades. This sub-layer is responsible for the formation of the outer layer. By looking at it directly it is hoped to retrieve the ridges-and-valleys array (which is known to be present at this level), but also to discover new interesting biometrics linked to fingerprints, so that the captured image would be enriched. Coupled with a traditional fingerprint image, this “sub-information” will allow the creation of a high-quality image eliminating the issue of failure to enrol.

The project also focuses on image quality a priority item, by improving some promising new technologies such as Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) and Organic Photo Diodes (OPDs) in order to provide high definition fingerprint images, and by enhancing classical fingerprint images with the help of OCT and ultrasound technologies.

The technological stream proposed for this project will develop mock-ups at different levels of maturity, which will be evaluated through Technology Readiness Level. A technological roadmap and a cost study allowing for these mock-ups to reach the product stage will also be defined. The evaluation of mock-ups will be done via different steps: a laboratory test will verify their performance, the cross compatibility with legacy data and traditional sensors, their ergonomics and the feasibility of a large scale test; then a test on the field with a large set of users will be implemented to validate the relevance of such technologies and prove their feasibility in the context of border control and law enforcement.

The project is structured in 10 work packages:

  • Work Package 1 “Requirement Analysis” aims first to harmonize the existing projects results exploitation within INGRESS and second to define process and use case of fingerprint in the border control and law enforcement applications.
  • Work Package 2 “Sub-Surface Fingerprint Reader using UltraSound” focuses on ultra-sound technology to read the sub-surface fingerprint via the use of ultrafast ultrasound imaging, allowing to acquire in high resolution until 30000 frames/s and to obtain image of elasticity and ultrasensitive Doppler measurements.
  • Work Package 3 “Sub-Surface Fingerprint Reader using OCT” designs and builds dedicated FFOCT systems that matches the requirements of most of the biometric mapping systems in term of speed, size of the field of view, acquisition procedure (e.g. a finger located against a window) etc. and with an unusual resolution for FFOCT of 500 dpi (instead of 25000 dpi). Since INGRESS proposes innovative scanners, we will make some tests with higher resolutions.
  • Work Package 4 “Surface Fingerprint Reader using POE” studies employment of Printed Organic Electronics (POE) technologies and components, such as passive matrix of Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) and Organic Photo Diodes (OPDs) in realization of a new generation of high resolution fingerprint sensors. High image resolution ( 200 dpi), decreasing sensors weight, size and costs will be demonstrated to a level of proof of concept.
  • The Work Package 5 “High-Quality Image Generation” uses the output of previous work packages to generate high-quality images. It focuses on superficial skin disorders too. Its goal is to detect the altered fingerprints and match altered fingerprints to their true mates.
  • Work Package 6 “Image Quality Assessment” uses standard approaches and develops new metrics to evaluate the fingerprint image quality. It assesses the operational quality of innovative sub-surface fingerprint sensing technology.
  • Work Package 7 “Test on the field and evaluation” evaluates the INGRESS’ mock-ups in laboratory to analyze the drawback of these technologies and to compare them with the legacy sensors. The test on the field studies the technology performances and the usability and user acceptance.
  • Work Package 8 “Ethical, Legal and Societal Issues” deals in parallel with core research and the test phase. It contributes to the current process on privacy certification criteria definition, using the outcomes of INGRESS core research.
  • Work Package 9 “Dissemination, Valorisation and Standardisation” groups three different tasks that partners will conduct in parallel with core research and the experimentation phase: Contribute to the international standardisation effort, in particular in ISO/IEC SC37 working groups; disseminate INGRESS research efforts and recommendation on the potential community of Users.