Home : Technical Terms : Biometrics Definition

Biometrics

Biometrics refers to technologies used to detect and recognize human physical characteristics. In the IT world, biometrics is often synonymous with "biometric authentication," a type of security authorization based on biometric input.

There are several types of biometric authentication. Common examples include fingerprint scanning, retinal scanning, facial recognition, and voice analysis. A facial recognition system, for instance, uses a camera to capture an image of a person's face. The photograph is then recorded and processed using biometrics software. The software attempts to match the scanned image with an image from a database of users' photos. If the scan is close enough to a specific user, the person will receive authorization to continue.

In many cases, a biometric scan is similar to a login. For example, some computers have a finger scanner that allows you to authenticate yourself by swiping your finger across a sensor. Instead of entering a username and password, the finger scan provides your authorization. Some retail outlets now use finger scanners to verify people's identity as an alternative to entering a unique pin number. High-security government and office buildings may even require retinal scans in order to access certain areas of the building. In some cases, a keycard, passcode, or login is required in addition to a biometric scan in order to provide extra security.

Updated: January 30, 2012

Cite this definition:

https://techterms.com/definition/biometrics

TechTerms - The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

This page contains a technical definiton of Biometrics. It explains in computing terminology what Biometrics means and is one of many technical terms in the TechTerms dictionary.

All definitions on the TechTerms website are written to be technically accurate but also easy to understand. If you find this Biometrics definition to be helpful, you can reference it using the citation links above. If you think a term should be updated or added to the TechTerms dictionary, please email TechTerms!