Small fingerprint scanners used in mobile devices: the impact on biometric performance Articles uri icon


publication date

  • March 2016

start page

  • 28

end page

  • 36


  • 1


  • 5

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2047-4938

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2047-4946


  • Biometrics has burst into mobile technology. Fingerprint scanners are being embedded in smartphones and tablets supplying these devices with the security and usability provided by biometric authentication mechanisms. However, performance results obtained by biometric systems cannot be extrapolated to mobile devices. The conditions change, especially at capture process, due to the reduced sensing area of the scanners used. The impact of small fingerprint scanners on the quality and biometric performance of the system is studied. A database using three different fingerprint scanners has been collected and reduced-size images (i.e. 12 x 12 mm(2), 10 x 10 mm(2) and 8 x 8 mm(2)) have been modelled by cropping the original ones. Performance testing has been conducted using one public and one commercial algorithm, and considering two application scenarios. One scenario in which enrolment and authentication are executed using the same small sensor included in the mobile device (i.e. cropped image against cropped image) and a second scenario in which enrolment is executed using an external larger sensor and authentication is done using the mobile device sensor (i.e. full image against cropped image). Results show the gradual worsening of quality and error rates as the size of the fingerprint scanner is reduced revealing a significant difference between the application scenarios analysed.