Hand Geometry


Hand geometry is a form of physiological biometrics that uses the shape of the hand for authentication purposes. Various traits of the hand, such as finger length, width and curvature, as well as unique features may be used for identification. [1] Hand geometry scan require that users place their hands onto a surface with 5 pegs. This aligns the hand so that the scanner can get a consistent reading on each scan. The scan is then compared to the database for verification. A typical scan will take two pictures of the hand: one of the top and one of the side. [2]

Another type of biometric scan can be done to identify the dorsal venous network of the hand. This essentially shows the blood vessels on the back of the hand and may be another useful factor for verification.


Studies on the use of hand geometry have been performed by Michigan State University. In their tests, users interacted with hand verification systems to grant access to web-based services. The use of hand verification as opposed to another form of biometric security might be favorable due to the sensitive nature of fingerprint, DNA, or iris-based systems. [3] [4]

hand.gif hand_features.gif

Problems and Implementation

Hand geometry is not a unique form of biometric security. More than one person may have the same or very similar hand shapes. This limits the usefulness of hand geometry to verification, not identification. [1] Combining hand geometry with another form of biometric security, such as fingerprint biometrics, would provide a very secure identification system. A system where hand geometry was used to verify the fingerprint input would add an additional layer of security and create a very effective identification system.

Hand geometry is currently in use for physical security purposes, namely building access, due to its ease of use, low cost and relatively impersonal data it uses. [2]

Implementing a security system based on hand geometry alone would not be a viable security system, however when combined with fingerprint biometrics it is a suitable security system for almost any business need.

1. Hand Geometry. Michigan State University. http://biometrics.cse.msu.edu/hand_geometry.html. Retrieved 4/2/08.
2. An Introduction to Biometrics - Hand Geometry Recognition. The RNIB Scientific Research Unit. 2008. http://www.tiresias.org/guidelines/biometrics_hand.htm. Retrieved 4/2/08.
3. Hand Geometry Projects. Michigan State University. http://biometrics.cse.msu.edu/hand_proto.html. Retrieved 4/2/08.
4. Biometrics-based Web Access. Michigan State University. http://biometrics.cse.msu.edu/hand_web.html. Retrieved 4/2/08.
5. Hand Geometry and Handwriting. GlobalSecurity.org. 2007. http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/systems/biometrics-hand.htm. Retrieved 4/2/2008.
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