Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Fingerprint Sensor: Laser Identity Verification

  • CSIR
  • From South Africa
  • Responsive
  • Innovative Products and Technologies

Summary of the technology

What would happen if you don’t have fingerprints? Burns, ageing, solvents and a number of other conditions could remove your obvious external fingerprint. Our technology allows a sub-dermal scan of the finger using a laser to obtain a print even if there is superficial damage to the finger pad (we call this an internal finger print). This innovation will be particularly useful for crime scenes, as the laser scan can be carried out without disturbing the crime scene. Additionally, the laser is capable of identifying faked fingerprints.


Technology Field

Public administration and defence activities and security Health and social work

Business Opportunity

As this technology can identify both internal and external fingerprints, as safety, security and issues resulting from escalating crime become more and more prevalent, this technology has numerous sites of application. These include: 1) Forensic and crime related biometric identification 2) Banks and other organizations that require identity verification via biometric data 3) Security at department of home affairs, foreign travel, border security, and immigration control 4) Any site where fingerprint or restricted access is required such as mines, department of health, SAPS, department of defense, department of agriculture, repository sites and offices 5) Biomedical imaging.

Benefits & Advantages

The OCT is a fingerprinting device that is capable of acquiring both external and internal fingerprints, thus enhancing fingerprint acquisition and providing fake detection. It is useful in dealing with various problems which come with conventional fingerprints such as damaged fingerprints or cases where individuals are trying to falsify fingerprints. The OCT machine is also useful in instances where there is a crime scene. The device has the ability to extract latent fingerprints from a crime scene without interfering or tampering with the evidence.

Related Keywords

  • Environmental and Biometrics Sensors, Actuators
  • Optical Materials
  • Sensor Technology related to measurements
  • Laser Technologies
  • fingerprint
  • identity verification

About CSIR

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, commonly known as the CSIR, is a world-class African research and development organisation established through an Act of Parliament in 1945. The CSIR undertakes directed, multidisciplinary research and technological innovation that contributes to the improved quality of life of South Africans.
The CSIR’s shareholder is the South African Parliament, held in proxy by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation.

CSIR vision
We are accelerators of socio-economic prosperity in South Africa through leading innovation.

CSIR mission
Collaboratively innovating and localising technologies while providing knowledge solutions for the inclusive and sustainable advancement of industry and society.

CSIR values
CSIR values statement:
Our beliefs, principles and the impact we wish to make to improve the quality of life of South Africans are EPIC. Team CSIR pursues Excellence, celebrates People, personifies Integrity, and welcomes Collaboration.

Our mandate
“The objects of the CSIR are, through directed and particularly multi-disciplinary research and technological innovation, to foster, in the national interest and in fields which in its opinion should receive preference, industrial and scientific development, either by itself or in co-operation with principals from the private or public sectors, and thereby to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the people of the Republic, and to perform any other functions that may be assigned to the CSIR by or under this Act.”
(Scientific Research Council Act 46 of 1988, amended by Act 71 of 1990)


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