Fingerprint scanning. Computer illustration of a fingerprint scan with colored markings (orange squares) showing the positions of characteristic features. A computer locates the features on the image that together make the fingerprint unique. Each feature's position is calculated with reference to the others and this information is also stored on the image. Databases of fingerprints can be used in a wide variety of ways. Forensic science uses fingerprints as a way of identifying people from marks left at the scene of a crime. Future security systems could use rapid scanning of fingerprints as a type of key, only allowing entry to recognized prints.

Credit: Chris Bjornberg / Science Source

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