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Biometric Access Control


Biometric access control is the most common application for biometric systems. A biometric device acts as a gatekeeper that tells other systems that a person is OK and should be allowed access.


Biometric access control has a wide range of uses. It can be used to control access to a whole building, a single room, or to computer systems. Biometric access control may utilize a variety of biometric devices. Some of the more common biometric devices include fingerprint scanners, retinal scanners, and voice recognition.



Biometric access control via fingerprint scanner works by matching a scan of a fingerprint of an access seeker with those in a database. If the software makes a pattern match, the biometric access control system sends a message to another system to allow access. Fingerprint scanners are the most common biometric access control method.

Retinal scanners use a camera to take a picture of the access seeker’s retina. Just like a fingerprint pattern, a retinal pattern is unique. The biometric access control software checks the retinal pattern of the access seeker with those in the database to look for a match. Retinal scanners are harder to fool than fingerprint scanners. It is much easier to obtain a fingerprint of a legitimate user than a retinal scan.

Voice recognition uses the access seeker’s voice pattern as the criteria for entry. The system records the access seeker’s voice and matches the digital pattern with those already stored in the database. This kind of system can be unreliable due to voice changes from an illness, for example, or because of ambient noise (a nearby jackhammer, for instance).

The best biometric access control utilizes multiple biometric factors to control access, although utilizing too many can become a burden on the access seeker and may lead to a lot more false rejections (where a legitimate access seeker is not allowed access).

As passwords become more and more unwieldy, you can expect to see more biometric access control utilized in the workplace and at home.