According to available resources, fingerprints may have been used as a method of identification for as long as 3,000 to 4,000 years. Ancient societies including the Babylonians used fingerprints as a way to identify the person who made a specific product or as a method to protect against forgery when becoming involved in a contract, in the same way we use a product label or a signature for proof of identification. However, they would press their finger into a clay tablet or piece of pottery.
Into the 19th century, fingerprints were used as part of a legal document to prevent denial of a signature. Eventually, dactyloscopy, the method to use fingerprints, gained some acceptance in the major cities with Scotland Yard setting up a fingerprint bureau. In recent years, the methods of obtaining and interpreting fingerprints have improved with the invention of computers and electronic fingerprint devices, more precise fingerprints, expanded storage options and improved methods to accurately compare newly obtained fingerprints with recorded fingerprint templates.
Fingerprint sensors are designed to use the fingerprint patterns: the arch, loop and whorl to create the enrollment (registration) or template. A fingerprint, which includes the thumbprint, is obtained from the flat (face), not the tip as the flat has the greatest amount of patterns. Note: The center of the pattern is usually located directly opposite the bottom of the fingernail.
The reliability of using a part of the human anatomy that can change for identification is how good is the equipment and how accurate and accommodating is the registration (enrollment). A good fingerprint template will result in fewer problems when attempting to gain access. A poor fingerprint template can result in false negatives or false positives. A false negative is when a valid fingerprint cannot be verified, denying the person access. A false positive is when an invalid fingerprint is matched with the wrong registration, permitting access to an unauthorized person.
The Helix 100 fingerprint sensor uses radio-frequency (RF) technology to read beneath the epidermis (top layer of skin) to capture the sub-surface layers of live skin contours of the finger to create a template. The advantage of sub-surface readings is it makes the sensor extremely hard to fool with a fake finger, and surface damaged fingers or debris will not affect the fingerprint.
To ensure good enrollment, the Helix 100 does a series of one finger readings. This can be from a minimum of five to up to 20 readings to create a finger template. If an adequate template cannot be created with 20 readings, the system is designed to start over.
With each additional reading, the Helix will indicate if the readings improve or not. Each time the same finger is placed against the sensor; a series of sounds will follow. Ascending sounds indicate a better reading. Descending sounds indicate an inferior reading. The Helix 100 can be setup to permit a fingerprint code to only exist once in the standalone system database.
The Helix 100 is a fingerprint access control system comprised of a Helix 100 fingerprint reader, separate Secure Input/Output Board (SIOB) and a wiring harness. The Helix 100 and SIOB are connected by an RS485 link using the one foot or 16-foot cable included in the packaging. The SIOB can be located further than 16 feet from the Helix 100 by extending stock cable.
Communication between the Helix 100 and the SIOB is encrypted. Upon powering “up” for the first time, the two components become “paired” and the SIOB will only communicate with that Helix 100. The finger templates are retained in memory within the Helix 100.
This security feature makes it impossible for another Helix 100 to be swapped with an installed unit in order to gain access. In addition, by placing the access control electronics in the SIOB, the Helix 100 can be installed in a less secure area, knowing that vandalizing the reader will not gain access.
A standalone Helix 100 is tied into an existing access control system using the Wiegand output to establish a networked Helix 100 system.