Hand Biometrics Technology

This lesson not only explores how engineers incorporate biometrics technologies into products, but also explores the challenges of engineers who must weigh privacy, security and other issues when designing a system. Students explore different biometrics techniques, find their own hand geometry biometrics, then work in teams to design a high-tech security system for a museum.

Learn about biometrics technology.  Learn about engineering product planning and design.  Learn about meeting the needs of society.  Learn about teamwork and working in groups. 

Age Levels: 8-18

Build Materials (For each team)

Required Materials

  • Pencils
  • Blank sheets of paper
  • Rulers
  • Copies of all hand geometry codes

Design Challenge

You are a team of engineers given the task of determining your own personal hand geometry code. Then, you’ll use the results in order to determine whether personal hand geometry templates or numbers would be unique enough to serve as an element in a new security system for a museum.

Criteria

  • Trace hand as close to the skin as possible.

Constraints

  • Use only the materials provided.
  1. Break class into teams of 2-3.
  2. Hand out the Hand Biometrics worksheet, as well as some sheets of paper for sketching designs.
  3. Discuss the topics in the Background Concepts Section.
  4. Review the Engineering Design Process, Design Challenge, Criteria, Constraints and Materials.
  5. Provide each team with their materials.
  6. Part 1: Explain that students must use the process below to determine their own personal hand geometry code, then determine the code of their teammates. A copy of each student’s hand geometry code should be shared with the class.
    ● Trace your right hand on a piece of paper, keeping the pencil as close to your skin as possible.
    ● Using a ruler, measure the following in centimeters:
    ○ A: Distance rom index fingertip to bottom knuckle in cm
    ○ B: Width of ring finger, measured across the top knuckle in cm
    ○ C: Width of palm across 4 bottom knuckles in cm
    ○ D: Width of palm from middle knuckle of thumb across hand in cm
    ● Record the 4 numbers in A, B, C, D order, which is your personal hand geometry code.
  7. Part 2: As a team, students evaluate the geometry codes of their classmates. These will represent the codes of staff that need to access a museum during evening hours to check on a group of priceless paintings.
    ● Team’s should discuss and answer the following questions to help form their plan for incorporating biometrics into the museum’s new security system.
    ○ How similar were the geometry template codes you examined? What did you observe that was most similar? What did your team determine to be different in the group?
    ○ What problems do you envision an employee might encounter as they placed their hand in the biometric scanning device?
    ○ Are there any guidelines your engineering team would recommend regarding either capturing the codes from each employee, or in scanning the employee’s hand at the entrance to the museum?
    ○ Do you think that fingerprint scans would be more effective? Why? Why Not?
    ● Teams develop and document a new security system from the questions they answered above.
  8. As a class, discuss the student reflection questions.
  9. For more content on the topic, see the “Digging Deeper” section.

 

Student Reflection (engineering notebook)

  1. Biometrics can be applied to many situations, such as computer login security, employee recognition, time or attendance record systems, and voter identification. As a team of “engineers” describe three other situations where you think engineers should consider incorporating biometrics technology to solve problems. Please indicate whether any of these situations might warrant at two-level system, where hand biometrics is one of the two levels of verification
  2. Question: At Walt Disney World, biometric measurements are taken from the fingers of guests to ensure that the person’s ticket is used by the same person from day to day. Do you have privacy concerns about this? Why? Why not? If you were part of the engineering team on this project, what would you do to ensure privacy?

Time Modification

The lesson can be done in as little as 1 class period for older students. However, to help students from feeling rushed and to ensure student success (especially for younger students), split the lesson into two periods giving students more time to brainstorm, test ideas and finalize their design. Conduct the testing and debrief in the next class period.

Divide into teams
Review the challenge and criteria constraints
Brainstorm possible solutions (sketch while you brainstorm!)
Choose best solution and build a prototype
Test then redesign until solution is optimized
Reflect as a team and debrief as a class

What is Biometrics?

Biometrics (ancient Greek: bios =”life”, metron =”measure”) is the study of methods for uniquely recognizing humans based upon one or more intrinsic physical or behavioral traits. In information technology, “biometric authentication” refers to technologies that measure and analyze human physical and behavioral characteristics for authentication purposes. Examples of physical (or physiological or biometric) characteristics include fingerprints, eye retinas and irises, facial patterns and hand measurements, while examples of mostly behavioral characteristics include signature, gait and typing patterns.

Sample Applications

  1. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Brazilian citizens have used ID cards that incorporate fingerprint-based biometrics.
  2. Microsoft has introduced a fingerprint reader that prevents computers from being used by unauthorized people.
  3. Many countries have implemented biometric passports that combine paper and electronic identity — using biometrics to authenticate the citizenship of travelers. The passport’s critical information is stored on a tiny RFID computer chip.
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The icon on the bottom of the front of the passport indicates that a passport incorporates biometrics technology.

Hand Geometry Biometrics

Hand geometry is a biometric that identifies users by the shape of their hands. Hand geometry readers measure a user’s hand along many dimensions and compare those measurements to measurements stored in a file.

Viable hand geometry devices have been manufactured since the early 1980s, making hand geometry the first biometric to find widespread computerized use. It remains popular; common applications include access control and time-and-attendance operations.

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Since hand geometry is not thought to be as unique as fingerprints or retinas, fingerprinting and retina scanning remain the preferred technology for high-security applications. Hand geometry is very reliable when combined with other forms of identification, such as identification cards or personal identification numbers. In large populations, hand geometry is not suitable for so-called one-to-many applications, in which a user is identified from his biometric without any other identification.

Internet Connections

Recommended Reading

  • See Inside Recycling and Rubbish by Alex Frith (ISBN: 978-1409507413)
  • Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion (Scientists in the Field Series) by Loree Griffin Burns (ISBN: 978-0547328607)
  • Plastic, Ahoy!: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Patricia Newman and Annie Crawley (ISBN: 978-1467712835)
  • What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet by Jess French (ISBN: 978-1465481412)

Writing Activity

The Baltimore Harbor Trash Wheel Project, affectionately known as Mr. Trash Wheel, uses a turning wheel to scoop trash and debris out of the water and collect it into a dumpster barge. The current from the Jones Falls River, which flows into the harbor, powers the trash-scooping wheel. On days when the current isn’t strong enough to turn the wheel, solar panels provide backup power. Mr. Trash Wheel has collected more than 999 tons of trash since May 9, 2014. What parts of the Baltimore Harbor Trash Wheel’s design do you think are the most helpful and important? Why do you think it is so important to a city like Baltimore? Think about where you live. Are there areas of your community that could use an inventive cleaning machine? What sort of cleaning machine would you create to help your community? What benefits would it bring? What challenges would it face?

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Note: Lesson plans in this series are aligned to one or more of the following sets of standards:  

National Science Education Standards Grades K-4 (ages 4 – 9)

CONTENT STANDARD A: Science as Inquiry

As a result of activities, all students should develop

  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry 
  • Understanding about scientific inquiry 

CONTENT STANDARD E: Science and Technology 

As a result of activities, all students should develop

  • Abilities of technological design 
  • Understanding about science and technology 

CONTENT STANDARD F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

As a result of activities, all students should develop understanding of

  • Science and technology in local challenges 

National Science Education Standards Grades 5-8 (ages 10 – 14)

CONTENT STANDARD A: Science as Inquiry

As a result of activities, all students should develop

  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry 
  • Understandings about scientific inquiry 

CONTENT STANDARD E: Science and Technology

As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop

  • Abilities of technological design 
  • Understandings about science and technology 

CONTENT STANDARD F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

As a result of activities, all students should develop understanding of

  • Risks and benefits 
  • Science and technology in society 

National Science Education Standards Grades 9-12 (ages 14-18)

CONTENT STANDARD A: Science as Inquiry

As a result of activities, all students should develop

  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry 
  • Understandings about scientific inquiry 

CONTENT STANDARD E: Science and Technology

As a result of activities, all students should develop

  • Abilities of technological design 
  • Understandings about science and technology 

National Science Education Standards Grades 9-12 (ages 14-18)

CONTENT STANDARD F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

As a result of activities, all students should develop understanding of

  • Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges 

CONTENT STANDARD G: History and Nature of Science

As a result of activities, all students should develop understanding of

  • Historical perspectives 

Next Generation Science Standards Grades 3-5 (Ages 8-11)

Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

  • 4-PS4-3.  Generate and compare multiple solutions that use patterns to transfer information.

Engineering Design 

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

  • 3-5-ETS1-1.Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
  • 3-5-ETS1-2.Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

Next Generation Science Standards Grades 6-8 (Ages 11-14)

Engineering Design 

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

  • MS-ETS1-2 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

Principles and Standards for School Mathematics

Number and Operations Standard

As a result of activities, all students should develop

  • Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems.
  • Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.

Connections Standard

As a result of activities, all students should develop

  • Understand how mathematical ideas interconnect and build on one another to produce a coherent whole.
  • Recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics. 

Standards for Technological Literacy – All Ages

The Nature of Technology

  • Standard 1: Students will develop an understanding of the characteristics and scope of technology.
  • Standard 3: Students will develop an understanding of the relationships among technologies and the connections between technology and other fields of study.

Technology and Society

  • Standard 4: Students will develop an understanding of the cultural, social, economic, and political effects of technology.
  • Standard 6: Students will develop an understanding of the role of society in the development and use of technology.

Design

  • Standard 8: Students will develop an understanding of the attributes of design.
  • Standard 9: Students will develop an understanding of engineering design.
  • Standard 10: Students will develop an understanding of the role of troubleshooting, research and development, invention and innovation, and experimentation in problem solving.

Abilities for a Technological World

  • Standard 11: Students will develop abilities to apply the design process.
  • Standard 13: Students will develop abilities to assess the impact of products and systems.

The Designed World

  • Standard 15: Students will develop an understanding of and be able to select and use agricultural and related biotechnologies.
  • Standard 17: Students will develop an understanding of and be able to select and use information and communication technologies.

Common Core State Standards for School Mathematics Grades 2-8 (ages 7-14)

Measurement and data

  • Measure and estimate lengths in standard units.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.2.MD.A.1 Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.2.MD.A.3 Estimate lengths using units of inches, feet, centimeters, and meters.

Biometrics and Hand Geometry 

Biometric templates contain information extracted from biometric traits.  The resulting codes can be used for identification in a variety of situations.  In this activity, you’ll determine your own personal hand geometry code.

Step One:

  1. Trace your right hand on a piece of paper, keeping the pencil as close to your skin as possible.
  2. Using a ruler, measure the following in centimeters (see diagram below):

A: Distance from index fingertip to bottom knuckle ________cm

B: Width of ring finger, measured across the top knuckle _______cm

C: Width of palm across 4 bottom knuckles ________cm

D: Width of palm from middle knuckle of thumb across hand _______cm

Lesson Plan Translation

Additional Translation Resources

Downloadable Student Certificate of Completion