Biometrics is the science of verifying or recognising the identity of a living person on the basis of a physiological characteristic, such as a fingerprint, or an iris pattern, or a behavioral aspect like handwriting.
It is one of the most effective ways of securing a system or registering the presence of an authorised person as a biometric sample cannot, unlike a password, a swipe card or other identification token, be borrowed, stolen or forgotten.
Until recently, biometrics was the sole preserve of the large screen and were it not for significant technological advances over the last few years, science fiction would still be about as close as most people would get to using biometrics. Today, however, biometric technology has made the leap from science fiction to reality and versatile low-cost systems are well-suited for a broad range of applications.
The basic mechanics of a biometric system require that all users are enrolled before the system can be used. The process of enrolment requires that each user gives a sample of their biometric attribute from which a template is made. This template will be stored in a database and each time the user attempts to log on, the database will be searched to find a match.