Researchers develop biometric tool for newborn fingerprinting

Researchers at the University of California San Diego say they have dramatically advanced the science of biometric identification, creating a novel technology that can capture the fingerprints of infants and children, even on the first day of birth.

“We think we’ve solved the problem of infant identification for both developed and developing countries,” said Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, MD, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, UC San Diego School of Medicine and the Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego. “This new technology allows for quick, accurate fingerprinting that may eliminate the need for paper identification and improve health care and security for millions.”

Globally, infant and childhood identification is needed for health care delivery, especially in remote or resource-limited areas, as well as for supporting efforts in disaster relief, human trafficking, migration and refugee settlement.

Spencer said other technologists have unsuccessfully attempted to extrapolate adult technologies to fingerprinting children. UC San Diego’s solution was to apply a human-centered design and develop the technology from the ground up with infants, caregivers and stakeholders in mind.

“Accurate identification of a child to enable timely vaccinations can improve care, reduce disease burden and save lives,” said Spencer. “This is just the beginning. Consider the usefulness of health identification to track not only vaccinations, but to aid or prevent infectious disease outbreaks. Consider that a person’s identity can now be secured at birth, potentially protecting from identity fraud many years in the future.


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