A 3D-Printed Finger is Being Used to Unlock a Phone and Solve a Murder Case

By Gary Cutlack on at

A team at the Michigan State University is investigating a really quite novel way of solving a murder case while also battling today's fingerprint-based phone security systems -- 3D printing a version of the victim's finger to unlock a mobile.

The police asked the university's tech lab professor Anil Jain for help, using the tools available within his biometrics security setup to create the fake fingers. Jain usually works on toughening up security through biometrics, but in this case has been supplied with scans of fingerprints taken before the victim died in an attempt to unlock the phone and gain access to clues that might help pinpoint the murderer.

To get around the problem with faking results that sees most touch sensors require a conductive surface to trigger the capacitive sensor, the team coated their 3D finger with metallic particles to allow the right level of electrical conductivity to fool the device into thinking it was being touched by live skin; plus the university team has already proved that such a system can work in a test carried out earlier this year using conductive ink. Although if the phone's locked with an additional passcode it's going to make the process tougher than just a case of fooling the sensor. [Fusion via Mashable]

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