Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Wikipedia.


in security and personal identification, the electronic verification of individuals using biological traits, such as iris or retinal scanning, fingerprintsfingerprint,
an impression of the underside of the end of a finger or thumb, used for identification because the arrangement of ridges in any fingerprint is thought to be unique and permanent with each person (no two persons having the same prints have ever been found).
..... Click the link for more information.
, or face recognition, and the technology used in verification. The main operations involved in a biometric system are called enrollment and test; during enrollment an individual's biometric information is collected and stored, while during test the incoming information is compared against the version stored during enrollment. A functioning system typically answers three questions: Is the person who he or she claims to be (verification)? Who is the person (identification)? Is there anything special about the person, for example, is he or she allowed access to a restricted area (screening)? The increasing use of biometric systems in both industrial (e.g., attendance tracking) and security (e.g., airport check-in) environments has raised privacy concerns. Additionally, reports of commercially available units being compromised have raised security issues, and medical issues, such as retinal scanners transmitting infections, also exist. Nonetheless, the early 21st cent. has seen an increasing use of the technology in the United States and Great Britain in schools, especially as replacements for library cards and meal tickets, and in a number of nations in passports and identification cards.


also known as




in biology, the development and application of statistical and mathematical methods to the analysis of data resulting from biological observations and phenomena. Biometrics is used in clinical trials evaluating the relative effectiveness of different therapies; in genetic and genomic studies of the makeup of nucleotide sequences in an organism; in epidemiological studies of the patterns, causes, and control of diseases and public health problems; and in many other areas of biological research. Although the terms biometry and biostatistics are often used interchangeably, the former is now more frequently applied to agricultural and biological applications while the latter is more frequently applied to medical applications. Biometrics played a key role in the development of modern biology. The rediscovery of Gregor MendelMendel, Gregor Johann
, 1822–84, Austrian monk noted for his experimental work on heredity. He entered the Augustinian monastery in Brno in 1843, taught at a local secondary school, and carried out independent scientific investigations on garden peas and other plants until
..... Click the link for more information.
's work in the early 1900s led to conceptual gaps between the proponents of geneticsgenetics,
scientific study of the mechanism of heredity. While Gregor Mendel first presented his findings on the statistical laws governing the transmission of certain traits from generation to generation in 1856, it was not until the discovery and detailed study of the
..... Click the link for more information.
 and evolutionary DarwinismDarwinism,
concept of evolution developed in the mid-19th cent. by Charles Robert Darwin. Darwin's meticulously documented observations led him to question the then current belief in special creation of each species.
..... Click the link for more information.
. By the 1930s, after vigorous debate, models built on statistical reasoning had resolved most of the differences to produce a coherent biology.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


The use of statistics to analyze observations of biological phenomena.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


, biometrics
a. the analysis of biological data using mathematical and statistical methods
b. the practice of digitally scanning the physiological or behavioural characteristics of individuals as a means of identification
2. the statistical calculation of the probable duration of human life
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(security, hardware)
The use of special input devices to analyse some physical parameter assumed to be unique to an individual, in order to confirm their identity as part of an authentication procedure.

Examples include fingerprint scanning, iris recognition, facial recognition, voice recognition (speaker recognition), signature, vascular pattern recognition.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


The biological identification of a person. Examples are face, iris and retinal patterns, hand geometry and voice. Built into laptop computers and smartphones, fingerprint readers have become popular as a secure method for identification.

Active vs. Passive Biometrics
Active biometrics requires users to perform some activity such as running their finger across a reader or looking into the camera. Passive biometrics senses gestures and rhythms. For example, lifting a smartphone may turn it on, and every person has a unique typing pattern (see biometric signature and keyboard biometrics).

More Security
More secure than passwords or even smart cards, which can be stolen. biometrics may be the primary or secondary authentication mechanism (see two-factor authentication). However, biometrics can be circumvented; for example, fingerprints captured from a water glass can fool scanners. See authentication, fingerprint reader, wearables, smart clothes, facial recognition, voice recognition and iris recognition.

A Biometric Mouse
SecuGen's EyeD Mouse includes a fingerprint reader on the thumb side of the device. It takes less than a second for the EyeD Mouse to verify a fingerprint. (Image courtesy of SecuGen Corporation,
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
The research study provides estimates for Global Biometrics Banking Forecast till 2023.
Some bank branches lack the capacity to entertain such a large number of customers as those who have not been able to get biometrics of their accounts will have their accounts blocked even before the deadline of June 30.
This agreement enables the sensor supplier to include Precise Biometrics' fingerprint software, Precise BioMatch Mobile, into its under-display sensor solutions for mobile devices.
Larry and his leadership team have built a highly reputable biometrics organization in the U.S.," said Edward Hu, Co-CEO of WuXi AppTec.
Following completion of this acquisition, Pharmapace will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of WuXi Clinical, the clinical CRO arm of WuXi AppTec and will continue to focus on growing its core biometrics competences and integrate with WuXi Clinical's other clinical development services.
So it's no surprise that Patrick Kelly, chief revenue officer at Privakey--a company that streamlines "the way people authenticate their identities and authorize anything by delivering secure, interactive content via Privakey-enabled mobile apps"--says, "We are seeing innovative uses of biometrics for call center identification, eliminating the need for an agent to interrogate the caller." Not only do voice biometrics provide excellent security, but they free up agents to tackle more complex tasks and reduce frustration among callers (who may bristle at being asked the same verification questions over and over by agents).
In line with Precise Biometrics' ambition to develop world leading biometrics solutions, the company is planning for a re-organisation of some of its operations.
Canada is expanding its biometrics programme that requires foreign nationals to give their fingerprints and photos when applying for these visas.
What do you see as the key benefits of introducing biometrics in retail banking?
"When comparing the most widely-used forms of authentication, people view biometrics as the most secure, followed by two-factor authentication and one-time password tokens or codes," the report said.
The first section of "Biometrics in a Data Driven World" discusses the fundamentals of biometrics and provides an overview of common biometric modalities, namely face, fingerprints, iris, and voice.
The author, who has served as a US Army intelligence officer and worked in biometrics and identity intelligence for Department of Defense clients, describes how biometrics has been and can be used in military operations, particularly in ground combat and supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.