TED Talk: Fingerprint Identification

Hey there, this is my TED Talk on fingerprint authentication, recognition, and identification.

I will explain how it helps crime solving, where it will go in the future, and I also have a short video clip form YouTube to explain human fingerprints.



8 thoughts on “TED Talk: Fingerprint Identification”

  1. Hi Brian, I thought that your presentation was very clear and you used your visuals very well. I really liked that you tried to include more interactive components by asking the viewers questions and a including video. I have two questions about the development of finger prints. If finger prints are burned off, do they come back with the same identical ridges they had before, and if so, how does our body know to replicate this very specific pattern? I thought that your topic was very interesting and I liked that you linked it to themes of safety and police work now and in the future. Great work Brian!

    1. Thank you Renee!
      For your questions, fingerprints are quite durable, but if the inner layers of skin, the basal layers, get too damaged or burned, the fingerprints may be changed. Fingerprints are imprinted onto the deeper layers of skin, so they usually will grow back if the injury is just superficial.

  2. Brian,

    I really liked your TedTalk! It was a very interesting topic that I have never thought about before. I also liked how you discussed both the benefits and issues. However, I wish that you looked more at the camera audience when talking. I also liked the video, but I would have preferred if you could have possibly explained it yourself. I really liked how you talked about future possibilities in the field, and recognized that fingerprint scanning could be improved but also become a bad thing. I also liked how you had a volunteer answer the questions, that was very unique to your TedTalk.

    As for your question: What do you think we need work on? I think we should establish certain policies in regards to the use of fingerprint scanning so that we can maintain the balance between safety and privacy.

    Can you elaborate on why you think fingerprint scanning should only be used if there are no other options?

    Good job again!

    1. Thank you Rachael!!!
      To elaborate on your question, fingerprint authentication is a very recent technology, and there are still many things that should be worked on, one being the accuracy and precision of the scans, and how the criminals can fool the machine.
      The main reason though, is to avoid ethical issues. The majority of people would not want security agencies to collect samples of their fingerprints or DNA, as it could be used against them. It’s also a privacy issue for some people.

  3. Hey Brian, great talk! I loved your use of the video in the beginning of your talk, and I liked the skit you and Colin did. I had a few questions about fingerprint usage.

    1) Are fingerprints really that much secure than a passcode lock or other alternative methods of securing a smartphone? If in the future someone can pay for things with their credit card by using their fingerprint, it seems like it would be easier to force someone to scan their fingerprint than it would be to get a potentially lengthy password. Same goes for the iPhone and unlocking it by using your fingerprint.

    2) Do you think there are any situations where a fingerprint should not be used for security?

    Just some questions I had on my mind. Again, amazing talk!
    – Alan

    1. Thanks for commenting Alan!
      To answer your questions now:
      1. Finger authentication for phones and computers are mainly for efficiency as that’s what most people care about know in the society, but as you said, passwords are not as easy to obtain than fingerprints. On the other hands, online piracy and hacking can potentially still be able to crack a passcode, whereas fingerprints are all codes and virtual.

      2. I think that fingerprinting is a very secure and fast way to determine one’s identity, and I don’t think there are any situations where it shouldn’t be used for security. Let me know if you think differently.

  4. I think you did a really good job on this! Liked the way you summarized things, it was easy to understand and not dragged out for too long. To be honest I have never thought of fingerprint scanning as a bad thing, I have just considered it as a normal thing for police to use to solve crimes with. Now that I think about it though, there are lots of people who would have problems with the government keeping a database of their information.
    I think what we need to work on is the quality of our scanners, like you said there are people who can trick them using a gelatin mold. This means that there is information that people could steal that would be a lot better of not being found out. Things like highly personal information could get out and be used with bad intentions.

    1. Thank you Alicia!!!
      Yeah, it’s very neat because your father is in the RCMP so you would know a lot about this topic. I’m sure that in the future, these crime solving technologies will get more and more accurate and maybe even fail-proof, but for know I think the police still relies a lot on human judgement.

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