Our fingerprint is made of a number of ridges and valley on the surface of finger that are unique to each human. "Ridges are the upper skin layer segments of the finger and valleys are the lower segments". The ridges form two minutiae points: ridge endings-where the ridges end, and ridge bifurcations-where the ridges split in two. The uniqueness of a fingerprint can be determined by the different patterns of ridges and furrows as well as the minutiae points. There are five basic patterns which make up the fingerprint: the arch such as tented and plain arch covers 5% of fingerprint; left and right loop covers 60% of fingerprints; whorl covers 34% of fingerprints and accidental whorls covers 1% of fingerprints.

To capture the surface of the fingerprint for verification during the identification of users, new technologies are designed with tools such as: optical and ultrasound. There are two main algorithms which are used to recognize fingerprints: minutiae matching and pattern matching.

  • Minutiae matching will compare the details of the extract minutiae to identify the difference between one users fingerprint as compared to others. When users register with the system, they will record images of minutiae location and direction on finger surface. When users use fingerprint recognition system to verify their identification, a minutiae image is brought out and compared with the one which provided at the time of access.
  • Pattern matching will compare all the surfaces of the finger instead of one particular point. It will concentrate more in thickness, curvature and density of finger's surface. The image of the fingers surface for this method will contain the area around a minutiae point, areas with low curvature radius or areas with unusual combinations of ridges.

There are several benefits of using fingerprint recognition systems. This system is easy to use and install. It requires cheap equipment which generally has low power consumption. However, there are some disadvantages in this system. If the surface of the finger gets damaged and/or has one or more marks on it, identification becomes increasingly hard. Furthermore, the system requires the users' finger surface to have a point of minutiae or pattern in order to have matching images. This will be a limitation factor for the security of the algorithm. Fingerprint security system is used widely in different applications such as: cell phones, laptops, USB flash drives and others devices. It is also used in judicial systems in order to record users' information and verify one person's identity.