WO2000065542A1 - Imaging device for a relief object and system and method of using the image device - Google Patents

Imaging device for a relief object and system and method of using the image device Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2000065542A1
WO2000065542A1 PCT/US2000/011544 US0011544W WO0065542A1 WO 2000065542 A1 WO2000065542 A1 WO 2000065542A1 US 0011544 W US0011544 W US 0011544W WO 0065542 A1 WO0065542 A1 WO 0065542A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
image
substrate
relief object
designated area
system
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2000/011544
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Tzu-Chiang Hsieh
Alexander G. Dickinson
Shahin Hadjiabadi
Original Assignee
Ethentica, Inc.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US13107299P priority Critical
Priority to US60/131,072 priority
Application filed by Ethentica, Inc. filed Critical Ethentica, Inc.
Publication of WO2000065542A1 publication Critical patent/WO2000065542A1/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K9/00Methods or arrangements for reading or recognising printed or written characters or for recognising patterns, e.g. fingerprints
    • G06K9/00006Acquiring or recognising fingerprints or palmprints
    • G06K9/00013Image acquisition
    • G06K9/0004Image acquisition by using electro-optical elements or layers, e.g. electroluminescent sensing
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07CTIME OR ATTENDANCE REGISTERS; REGISTERING OR INDICATING THE WORKING OF MACHINES; GENERATING RANDOM NUMBERS; VOTING OR LOTTERY APPARATUS; ARRANGEMENTS, SYSTEMS OR APPARATUS FOR CHECKING NOT PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE
    • G07C9/00Individual entry or exit registers
    • G07C9/00007Access-control involving the use of a pass
    • G07C9/00031Access-control involving the use of a pass in combination with an identity-check of the pass-holder
    • G07C9/00071Access-control involving the use of a pass in combination with an identity-check of the pass-holder by means of personal physical data, e.g. characteristic facial curves, hand geometry, voice spectrum, fingerprints
    • G07C9/00087Access-control involving the use of a pass in combination with an identity-check of the pass-holder by means of personal physical data, e.g. characteristic facial curves, hand geometry, voice spectrum, fingerprints electronically
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07CTIME OR ATTENDANCE REGISTERS; REGISTERING OR INDICATING THE WORKING OF MACHINES; GENERATING RANDOM NUMBERS; VOTING OR LOTTERY APPARATUS; ARRANGEMENTS, SYSTEMS OR APPARATUS FOR CHECKING NOT PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE
    • G07C9/00Individual entry or exit registers
    • G07C9/00007Access-control involving the use of a pass
    • G07C9/00031Access-control involving the use of a pass in combination with an identity-check of the pass-holder
    • G07C9/00071Access-control involving the use of a pass in combination with an identity-check of the pass-holder by means of personal physical data, e.g. characteristic facial curves, hand geometry, voice spectrum, fingerprints
    • G07C9/00087Access-control involving the use of a pass in combination with an identity-check of the pass-holder by means of personal physical data, e.g. characteristic facial curves, hand geometry, voice spectrum, fingerprints electronically
    • G07C2009/00095Access-control involving the use of a pass in combination with an identity-check of the pass-holder by means of personal physical data, e.g. characteristic facial curves, hand geometry, voice spectrum, fingerprints electronically comprising a biometric sensor on the pass

Abstract

An imaging device has a substrate having a planar top surface and a planar bottom surface opposite the top surface. On the top surface, an area is designated to receive a relief object. The designated area has a corresponding designated area on the bottom surface. The device includes further an electro-optical panel positioned within the designated areas. The electro-optical panel has optical properties that provide an image of the relief object so that the image is available at the bottom surface for capturing by an image detector positionable in proximity of the bottom surface of the substrate.

Description

IMAGING DEVICE FOR A RELIEF OBJECT AND SYSTEM AND METHOD OF USING THE IMAGE DEVICE

Background of the Invention Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a method and apparatus for obtaining data relating to a relief object. More particularly, the invention relates to a device and a system that includes a relief object image generator. Description of the Related Art

Electronic identification processes are often used in electronic commerce ("e-commerce") transactions and in protecting electronic devices. For instance, the growth of personal computers and corporate networks, and their growing use for e-commerce via the Internet creates a need for easy and reliable identification of the users, for example, before a customer submits the credit card number or a vendor ships the ordered goods. Further, the increasing mobility of the users creates the need of protecting electronic devices, such as laptop computers and cellular phones, while a user is travelling. For example, the electronic devices can be lost or stolen. The user, however, can prevent the finder or thief from using the electronic device with an electronic identification process.

In one example of a widespread electronic identification process, the user inputs a password or a personal identification number (PIN) before the electronic device can be operated or before goods can be ordered from the vendor. However, passwords and PIN's are insecure, inconvenient and are expensive to maintain. For instance, given the choice, users tend to choose easily remembered and hence easily guessed passwords and PIN's. An improved process for electronic identification uses biometric security devices that use a variety of human characteristics to identify the user. These characteristics include fingerprints, voice, and retinal patterns, and the like. The biometric security devices may be installed in access-restricted locations where high-level security is needed. In addition to such permanently installed biometric security devices, the biometeric devices may be individual devices that are coπnectable to a computer via a cable if needed. One example of a biometric security device is a contact sensor, such as a fingerprint sensor used to identify or authorize a user. The fingerprint sensor generates an electronic representation or image of the tip of a finger which causes a fingerprint when placed on a surface. A matching algorithm compares the electronic representation of the present user's fingerprint with a stored electronic representation of the authorized user's fingerprint. If the representations match, the present user is identified as the authorized user. U.S. Patent No. 5,623,552 discloses a biometric device in form of a identification card. The card includes a fingerprint sensor for authenticating the identity of a user and a memory that stores fingerprint information. The fingerprint sensor is a silicon substrate with detectors that generate an electronic image of the fingerprint having ridges and valleys.

Biometric characteristics may completely replace the use of passwords or PIN's, or may be used in combination with passwords and/or PIN's. Because of the potential widespread use, biometric devices must be reliable, durable, convenient, and easy to use. Users are likely to accept biometric devices in form of a card because such cards can be conveniently carried around.

Summary of the Invention An aspect of the invention involves an imaging device having a plastic-like substrate having a planar top surface and a planar bottom surface opposite the top surface. The imaging device has a designated area on the top surface to receive a relief object, and a corresponding designated area on the bottom surface. The substrate between the designated area and the corresponding designated area has optical properties that provide an image of the relief object within the corresponding designated area The image is available at the bottom surface for capturing by an image detector positionable in proximity of the bottom surface of the substrate. Another aspect of the invention involves an imaging system for a relief object. The system has a substrate and an image generator positioned in proximity of the substrate. The substrate has a planar top surface and a planar bottom surface opposite the top surface, and a designated area on the top surface receiving a relief object and a corresponding designated area on the bottom surface. A relief object image generator is positioned within the designated areas and has optical properties that provide an image of the relief object The image detector is positioned to capture the image of the relief object generated by the relief object image generator.

A further aspect of the invention involves a fingerprint imaging device having a substrate that has a planar top surface and a planar bottom surface opposite the top surface. The substrate has a designated area on the top surface receives a finger and a corresponding designated area on the bottom surface. An image generator is positioned within the designated areas and has optical properties that provide an illuminated image of a surface of the finger. The illuminated image is available for capturing by an image detector positionable in proximity of the bottom surface of the substrate.

Another aspect of the invention involves an imaging device having a substrate that has a planar top surface and a planar bottom surface opposite the top surface. A designated area on the top surface receives a relief object and a designated area on the bottom surface corresponds to the designated area on the top surface A relief object image generator is positioned within the designated areas and has optical properties that provide an image of the relief object.

The image is available for capturing by an image detector positionable in proximity of the substrate.

A further aspect of the invention involves a method of generating an electrical representation of a fingerprint A substrate is removably positioned in proximity of an image detector so that the image detector faces a bottom surface of the substrate. The bottom surface is opposite a top surface, which has a designated area for receiving a finger, and has a corresponding designated area. The substrate has predetermined optical characteristics between the designated areas. A finger is placed on the designated area on the top surface so that an image of the finger is visible within the corresponding designated area at the bottom surface. The image of the finger is captured by the image detector that converts the image into an electronic representation of a fingerprint.

A still further aspect of the invention involves a method of manufacturing an imaging device. A substrate is formed to that is has a planar top surface and a planar bottom surface opposite the top surface. A designated area is defined on the top surface for receiving a finger and a corresponding designated area is defined on the bottom surface An image generator is assigned to the designated areas, wherein the image generator has optical properties that provide an illuminated image of a surface of a finger when placed on the designated area of the top surface The illuminated image is available for capturing by an image detector positionable in proximity of the bottom surface of the substrate

Another aspect of the invention involves a method of verifying and authenticating a user A substrate is removably positioned in proximity of an image detector so that the image detector faces a bottom surface of the substrate. The bottom surface is opposite a top surface, which has a designated area for receiving a finger, and has a corresponding designated area The substrate has predetermined optical characteristics between the designated areas A finger is placed on the designated area on the top surface so that an image of the finger is visible within the corresponding designated area at the bottom surface The image detector captures the image of the finger and converts the image into an electronic representation of a fingerprint A signal is generated that indicates that the user is an authorized user when the electronic representation of the fingerprint matches a stored electronic representation of the user's fingerprint.

For purposes of summarizing the invention, certain aspects, advantages and novel features of the invention have been described herein. Of course, it is to be understood that not necessarily all such aspects, advantages or features will be embodied in any particular embodiment of the invention.

Brief Description of the Drawings These and other aspects, advantages, and novel features of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the accompanying drawings. In the drawings, same elements have the same reference numerals. Figure 1A shows an illustration of a first embodiment of a substrate having a designated area for an object.

Figure 1B shows a side view of the substrate in accordance of the first embodiment. Figure 1 C shows a bottom view of the substrate with an illustration of a fingerprint. Figure 2A shows an illustration of a second embodiment of a substrate with a designated area for an object. Figure 2B shows a side view of the substrate in accordance of the second embodiment. Figure 2C shows a bottom view of the substrate with an image of a fingerprint

Figure 3 shows a block diagram of a system having a card reader.

Figure 4 shows an illustration of a card reader with a card inserted and a finger placed on the designated area. Figure 5 shows an illustration of a third embodiment of a substrate with a designated area and an integrated circuit. Figure 6 shows an illustration of a card reader configured for the third embodiment of the card.

Figure 7 shows an illustration of a first embodiment of a panel included in the contact area. Figure 8 shows an illustration of a second embodiment of a panel included in the contact area Figure 9 shows an illustration of a third embodiment of a panel included in the contact area. Figure 10 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary enrollment procedure. Figure 11 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary authentication procedure.

Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiment Figure 1A shows a first embodiment of a substrate 1 that serves as an imaging device to generate an image of a surface of a relief object The substrate 1 has a designated area 2 located within the right hand half of the substrate 1 The designated area 2 may be marked on a top surface 12a of the substrate, for instance, by graphical means. In addition, the substrate 1 may carry a customized design, a logo of a substrate manufacturer, advertisement, or a combination thereof. In the illustrated embodiment, the substrate 1 has a rectangular shape and is sized to be conveniently carried by a user. For instance, the substrate 1 may be the size of a standard credit card or the size of a card having an embedded integrated circuit (IC) A card with an embedded IC is often called "intelligent card" or "Smart Card "

For instance, if the substrate 1 is sized like a credit card, the substrate 1 has a length of approximately 8.5 cm, a width of approximately 5.5 cm, and a thickness of approximately 0.3 cm 0 5 cm However, it is contemplated that the substrate 1 may have different sizes and other shapes The substrate 1 may be of plastic like material that is preferable flexible, durable and lightweight Hereinafter, the substrate 1 is referred to as card 1.

The designated area 2 is sized to receive a sufficiently large surface area of an object. In one embodiment, the object is a relief object having a surface with features typically formed by ridges and valleys. One example of a relief object is a tip of a person's finger As is well known, a human fingertip has a surface that forms a unique pattern of ridges and valleys. The structure of the fingertip, or a print caused when the fingertip is placed on a surface is often referred to as a "fingerprint." Hereinafter, embodiments of the invention are described with reference, but not limited, to a fingertip as the relief object placed on the designated area 2, and the term "fingerprint" is generally used to refer to the print caused by the fingertip. The designated area 2 is, therefore, also referred to as contact area 2. Figure 1 B shows a side view of the card 1 with a finger 8 placed on the contact area 2 on the top surface

12a. The contact area 2 is configured so that the fingerprint is visible at a bottom surface 12b of the card 1 where the fingerprint can be detected by an optical system as discussed below. In one embodiment, the contact area 2 includes a material that provides the fingerprint at the bottom surface 12b. Such a material may be glass or a transparent plastic material. In another embodiment, the substrate 1 is made of a transparent plastic material covered by an opaque material. The contact area 2 at the top and bottom surfaces 12a, 12b remains uncovered by the opaque material. In yet another embodiment, the contact area 2 includes an electrooptic material as described below.

Figure 1 C shows a bottom view of the card 1. The fingerprint or an image thereof is visible at the bottom surface 12b within the contact area 2 because of the optical properties of the material used for the contact area 2. The image of the fingerprint appears at the bottom surface 12b and is available for conversion into an electronic representation by an optical system For illustrative purposes, a fingerprint is shown on the bottom surface 12b of the card 1.

Figure 2A shows a second embodiment of a card 1 that is generally sized and shaped as the card 1 shown in Figure 1A. The contact area 2, located in the right hand side of the card 1 , comprises a panel 12 of an electro-optical material. Electrical connections 4, 6 extend from the left hand edge of the card 1 to the contact area 2 and the panel 12. It is contemplated that the contact area 2 and the panel 12 may be located at other locations of the card 1, as long as a user can place an object on the contact area 2 when the card 1 is inserted into a card reader Once inserted, the electrical connection 4 connects to a power supply and supplies an activating current or voltage to the panel 12, and the electrical connection 6 connects to a grounding ring 6a that may be part of the panel 12 or part of the contact area 2. The electrical connection 6 also connects the grounding ring 6a to ground.

The contact area 2 and the panel 12 are sized to receive a sufficiently large surface area of the finger 8. When the finger 8 is placed onto the panel 12, the finger 8 touches the grounding ring 6a and the contact area 2 and completes an electrical circuit. Since a surface of the finger 8 is electrically conducting, the finger 8 allows a current to flow through the closed loop of the electrical circuit. As described below in more detail, the panel 12 generates an image of the fingerprint by way of electrical coupling of the current flowing from the finger 8 into a light emitting material. Variations in the topography of the fingerprint give rise to variations in coupling, resulting in the generation of a self-illuminated image of the fingerprint on a non-finger-contact side and bottom surface 12b of the panel 12. In one embodiment, the light emitting material is electro-luminescent (EL) in nature.

Figure 2B shows a side view of the card 1 with the finger 8 placed on the panel 12 within the contact area 2. An upper surface 13a of the panel 12 is exposed such that the finger 8 may be brought into direct contact with the surface 13a for imaging purposes. In one embodiment, the card 1 has an opening sized to receive the panel 12. In such an embodiment, the card 1 may be an opaque material such as plastic or ABS because of the opening.

The panel 12 may be thinner than the card 1 and a material 10, which is transparent for light generated by the panel 12, may be positioned underneath the panel 12 to protect and support the panel 12 within the opening. In addition, the transparent material 10 provides that bottom and top surfaces of the card 1 are planar. It is contemplated that in an alternative embodiment, the panel 12 may be as thick as the card 1 , or even thicker than the card 1 , so that the panel 12 is positioned within the opening without transparent material 10.

In yet another embodiment, the card 1 may be made of a material that is transparent for light generated by the panel 12. In this embodiment, an opening is not required and the panel 12 may be placed directly on top of the transparent material. The panel 12 may be located within a flat recess so that a top surface 13a of the panel 12 is at the same level as the top surface 13a of the card 1. Outside the contact area 2, the surface of the card 1 may be covered with an opaque material with a customized design printed thereon.

Figure 2C shows a bottom view of the card 1. For illustrative purposes, a fingerprint is shown on a bottom surface of the panel 12. The bottom surface of the panel 12 is the non-finger-contact side of the panel 12. As the bottom surface of the panel 12 is either exposed, covered by the transparent material 10, or covered by the transparent material of the card 1, a self-illuminated image is visible at the bottom surface 12b of the card 1 when the card 1 is powered via the electrical connections 4, 6. The self-illuminated image is an image of the user's fingerprint and available for conversion into an electronic representation of the fingerprint.

The card 1 may be molded to have the desired shape leaving the opening or the flat recess for the panel 12. Alternatively, the opening of the card 1 may be punched out after the card 1 is formed. The panel 12 may be glued into the opening to secure the panel 12 on the card 1. The panel 12 may additionally be secured and supported by the transparent material 10, for example, when the panel 12 is thinner than the card 1 and the card 1 has an opening. In case the card 1 is made of a transparent material and has only a recess instead of an opening, the panel 12 may be glued into the recess.

The panel 12 has an electrode that is connected to the electro optical material and the electrical connection 4. The electrode and the electrical connection 4 may be connected through soldering, gluing, wire bonding, or other connecting techniques. The electrical (ground) connection 6 is connected to the grounding ring 6a.

In an alternative embodiment of the card 1 , the light emitting material is deposited onto the top surface 12a of the card 1 using one or more process technologies to deposit material on a substrate. The panel 12, thus, is formed on the card 1 instead of being a separate component that is placed on the card 1. The term "panel" as used herein encompasses, therefore, a separate component as shown, for example, in Figure 2B, as well as material deposited on the card 1 within, for example, the contact area 2.

For instance, in order to form the panel 12 the material may be deposited using process technologies such as sublimation, chemical vapor deposition, printing or silkscreen processes Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the material may be deposited in layers during subsequent process steps As the panel 12 is implemented on the top surface 12 the substrate, at least within the contact area 2, is transparent for light emitted by the panel 12 Outside the contact area 2, the card 1 may be opaque.

Figure 3 is an illustration of a system 14 that includes a processor 18 and a card reader 16 that are connected through a data bus 24. The card reader 16 includes an optical system, e.g., an image detector 22, and a port

20 that receives the card 1. The image detector 22 detects the image of the user's fingerprint when the card 1 is inserted into the port 20 and the user's finger contacts the panel 12. It is contemplated that the image of the fingerprint may be self-illuminated or otherwise generated.

In response to the presence of the fingerprint, the image detector 22 generates an electronic representation

("electronic image" or "digital image") of the fingerprint. The fingerprint resulting from the sensing of the physical fingerprint of the user is referred to as the "sensed" fingerprint to distinguish it from a "stored" fingerprint of an authorized user. As described below in greater detail, if the sensed fingerprint matches the stored fingerprint, the system 14 or a host system identify the present user as the authorized user.

The system 14 may be a computer network, a personal computer, a laptop computer, a security system installed at an access-restricted area, a bank's automatic teller machine (ATM), a merchant's point-of-sale equipment, or communications equipment such as switching equipment, a wire bound or wire-less communications device, e.g., a mobile phone These systems may be configured to allow only authorized users full or limited access to and operation of the system. Referring to a personal computer, the card reader 16 may be integrated in a keyboard, a monitor, or a computer housing. In another embodiment, the card reader 16 may be an external device connectable to the personal computer that acts as a host system. The host system may be located remote from the card reader 16. The system 14 may also be a stand-alone device, portable or stationary, that verifies if the present user is the true and authorized user of the card. It is contemplated that the system 14 includes at least one storage device to store representations of fingerprints of authorized users and is configured to compare a sensed fingerprint to the stored fingerprints. The storage device may be a hard disk drive, CD ROM, EPROM, or the like. The storage device is preferably protected against manipulations, for example, it may be configured so that information may only be stored once.

The system 14 may be configured to run software that executes the comparison of the sensed and stored fingerprints. In other embodiments, the comparison may be performed by hardware or a combination of hardware and software. The comparison is often called "matching," wherein the software performs a matching algorithm. Further, it is contemplated that the matching may be performed locally within the card reader 16 or the processor 18, or at a remote location. In addition, the storage device may store confidential user data that may only be read or released when the present user is identified as the authorized user.

Figure 4 shows a schematic side view of one embodiment of a card reader 16 with the card 1 inserted and the finger 8 placed on the panel 12. In the illustrated embodiment, the card reader 16 receives the card 1 at a front side in horizontal direction. Once inserted, the contact area 2 of the card 1 remains exposed at the front side so that the user can place the finger 8 on the contact area 2 from above. In the inserted position, the contact area 2 is located above the image sensor 22.

Inside the card reader 16, a power supply 26 has an output 28 that connects to the electrical connection 4 of the inserted card 1 , and an output 34 that connects the electrical connection 6 to ground via the power supply 26. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that instead of connecting the electrical connection 6 to ground via the power supply 26, a separate connection may connect the electrical connection 6 of the inserted card 1 to ground. Further, it is contemplated that the electrical power for the panel 12 may be provided by the host system.

The power supply 26 provides a voltage within a range of about 20 and 300 volts and may be controlled by a controller 31 that is connected to a control line 30. For instance, the power supply 26 detects whether the finger 8 contacts the contact area 2 by determining if a current flows and generates a signal indicating that the finger 8 is present. The signal is available at the control line 30. The controller 31 may then activate the image detector 22 via a control and communications bus 32. In addition to conveying an activation signal, the control and communications bus 32 conveys the electronic representation of the fingerprint to the controller 31 which may forward it to the processor 18 or a central processing unit. It is contemplated that the controller 31 may be located within the card reader 16 or at other locations within the system 14 or the host system.

The image detector 22 is in one embodiment a digital imaging device such as a digital camera (e.g., a CCD camera). The image detector 22 captures the image of the fingerprint and converts it into a digital representation which the matching software can compare to the stored fingerprints. The locally or remotely executed matching algorithm results in a signal indicating whether the user is identified as an authorized user. The system 14 or the host system use this signal to allow full or limited access to and operation of the system. Further, this signal may be used to allow reading and releasing securely stored user data.

Figure 5 shows a third embodiment of a card 1 which is sized and shaped as the cards 1 shown in Figures 1 A and 2A, and also includes the electrical connections 4, 6, the ground ring 6a and the panel 12. The properties and characteristics of these elements (4, 6, 6a, 12) and the card material are as described above In addition, the third embodiment of the card 1 includes an integrated circuit 38 and a bus 36. The bus 36 connects the integrated circuit 38 to a controller as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6 shows a schematic side view of another embodiment of a card reader 16 that is configured to receive the third embodiment of the card 1 shown in Figure 5. The card reader 16 has a structure and components (power supply 26 and image detector 22) which are as described above with reference to Figure 4. As in Figure 4, the card 1 is inserted and the finger 8 placed on the panel 12, wherein the contact area 2 is located above the image detector 22. The image detector 22 is connected to a control and communications bus 37 The control and communications bus 37 connects the image detector 22, the power supply 26 and the inserted card 1 to a controller 39. The controller 39 may be connected to the processor 18 or a central processing unit (not shown) that perform the matching of the sensed and stored fingerprints.

The integrated circuit 38 may be a memory that stores a template representing the electronic representation of the card owner's fingerprint During the process of authenticating the user, the system 14 addresses the memory via the control and communications bus 37 and reads the template from the memory. The system 14 then matches the read template with the sensed fingerprint obtained by the image detector 22 and generates a signal indicating whether the user is an authorized user. In this embodiment, the matching is done "off card."

In an alternative embodiment, the integrated circuit 38 may include a processor (CPU) and a memory that stores the template of the authorized user. The processor receives the sensed fingerprint from the image sensor 22 via the control and communications bus 37 and performs the matching "on card." The processor generates a signal indicating whether the user is an authorized user and makes this signal available at the control and communications bus 37 to be read by the system 14. In addition, the processor may be configured for carrying out various data processing functions on the fingerprint related data, such as encoding the generated signal. The encoded signal is then sent over the control and communications bus 37 to the controller 39 for further processing.

The memory of the integrated circuit 38 may further store confidential user data and a private key. The data and the private key are only accessible when the present user is identified as the authorized user of the card 1. Only then is the memory "unlocked." If the user is not authorized, the stored data is not available and remains securely "locked" in the memory. The private key may be used by the system 14 or the host system to encrypted messages sent over a communications network, e.g., the Internet when the user is interested in e-commerce.

The memory may further store computer code in addition to the template of the fingerprint or the user data. The computer code can include code necessary to fully operate the computer or to process the sensed fingerprint and to compare it with the stored template. For instance, when an authorization process needs to be executed, the host system (e.g., the laptop computer) can request a transfer of the computer code from the memory into a random access memory (RAM) of the host system. A processor of the host system can execute the computer code and perform the comparison of the fingerprints within the host system. It is contemplated that the memory may store the complete or only sections of the computer code necessary for the comparison procedure. In another embodiment, when the matching is performed "on-card," the host system can request a transfer of stored computer code from the memory to the RAM during a boot process of the computer The stored computer code may include code necessary to execute the boot process. This code, however, is only released when the "on-card" matching algorithm identified the user as the authorized user. If the user is not the authorized user, the boot process is interrupted.

The memory, either on-card or off -card, retains its content when the card 1 is not inserted in the card reader 16 or when the power supply 26 is switched off. In one embodiment, the memory is an Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EEPROM). The EEPROM is a non-volatile storage device in which bytes or words can be erased and reprogrammed individually during system operation. Alternatively, any other non volatile memory may be used.

An advantage of storing computer code in the memory on the card 1 is that it is more secure than storing the computer code exclusively on a hard disk of the host system. For instance, an unauthorized user may be able to manipulate the host system and by-pass a power-up or boot procedure during which the code stored on the hard disk is executed to authenticate the present user. If the user is successful, he can use the computer in an unrestricted manner. If, however, the code is stored in the memory the authorized user can remove the card 1 and store it at a safe place when the computer is not in use. Without the card 1 and the code stored therein, the computer is inoperable, or only operable to a limited extent.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the card 1 in all embodiments described herein may also comprise a conventional magnetic stripe. Such magnetic stripes on cards are know from credit cards, debit cards, calling cards,

ATM cards, or the like. The card reader 26 may be configured to perform read and write operations on the magnetic stripe. The magnetic stripe may be used to store various items of data including, for example, a PIN or data related to the user.

Figure 7 shows an illustration of a first embodiment of the panel 12 connected to the power supply 26. The finger 8 is placed on the panel 12 and ridges and valleys of the fingertip are shown for illustrative purposes. It is contemplated that the size of the fingertip, the spacing of layers of the panel and their thicknesses are not to scale.

The port 28 of the power supply 26 is coupled to the panel 12, and the second port 34 is connected to the finger 8 that touches the grounding ring 6a of, e.g., Figure 2A. The power supply 26 couples current to the finger 8 when it is placed against or proximate to the panel 12. In response to the current coupled from the finger 8 to the panel 12, different areas of panel 12 generate light as intensities which correspond to the amount of current coupled to an area of the panel 12.

The panel 12 may be constructed from known inorganic electroluminescent devices that include two planar electrodes which are mounted at opposite ends of the electroluminescent device so that they cover the length and width of the device and are aligned with one another. This type of structure is used, for example, to provide a back-light for a liquid crystal display. By removing an electrode and coupling a current source to the finger 8, the features of the finger 8 couple current differentially to the electroluminescent device to selectively stimulate areas of the electroluminescent device and produce an image of the relief object.

In the illustrated embodiment, the top surface of the panel 12 is even. In another embodiment, the panel 12 may be formed with a slightly concave top surface to facilitate placement of a rounded relief object, such as the finger 8 against the panel 12. In addition, the panel 12 may be formed with an oval or rectangular surface. The panel 12 may be an inorganic electroluminescent device or an organic electroluminescent device. Organic electroluminescent devices include thin sublimed molecular films such as tπs (8 quino nolato) aluminum (III) commonly known as Alq or light-emitting polymers having specialized structures which provide positive and negative charge carriers having high mobilities The light-emitting polymers include poly (p-phenylene vinylene) or PPV, soluble polythiophene derivatives, and polyamlene which may be applied by known coating techniques such as spin or doctor blade coating Prototypes of these devices are manufactured and available from Umax Coating of Santa Barbara, California.

The panel 12 in Figure 7 includes an inorganic electroluminescent device. The inorganic electroluminescent device includes a transparent electrode 46, a light emitting layer 44, and a dielectric layer 42 The power supply 26 is an alternating current (AC) source. The electrode 46, light emitting layer 44, and dielectric layer 42 are all preferably planar materials and are structured so that the electrode layer 46 has a first surface 41 , which lies along one surface of the light emitting layer 44, and the dielectric layer 42 has a first surface 43 which lies along the opposite planar surface of the light emitting layer 44. The port 28 of the power supply 26 is coupled to the transparent electrode 46 and the port 34 is coupled to the finger 8. The transparent electrode 46 is, preferably, a polymeric material coated with a transparent electrode composition such as indium tin oxide (ITO). The electrode 22 is transparent to permit light generated by the light emitting layer 44 to pass through with little attenuation or modulation.

The light emitting layer 44 may be a coating of light emitting particles applied to the first surface 41 of transparent electrode 46. The coating is preferably a phosphor material such as zinc sulfide.manganese (ZnS:Mn). Alternatively, light emitting particles may be dispersed in the dielectric layer 42. In this embodiment, the light emitting layer is not a distinct layer interposed between the dielectric layer and the transparent electrode but is suspended in the dielectric material, preferably in a uniform manner. For example, the phosphor material ZnS.Mn may be dispersed in an insulating dielectric material such as barium titanate (BaTiOJ

Although the material disclosed for the transparent electrode 46, the light emitting layer 44, and the dielectric layer 42 are exemplary, they are not the only materials that may be used. For example, the transparent electrode 46 may also be made from zinc oxide.aluminum (Zn0:AI) and other light emitting particles such as zinc silicate (Zn2Sι04) and zinc gallate (ZnGa204) may be used. The dielectric material may be from a variety of materials such as yttrium oxide, silicon nitride, or silicon oxγ-nitnde.

The power supply 26 (AC source) may output a root-mean square (RMS) voltage in the range of 20-300 volts having an output frequency in the range of approximately 50-2000 Hertz. To adequately drive 6.5 square centimeters (about one square inch) of the light emitting layer 44 disclosed above, a current in the range of 100 500 microamperes is typically required. The light emitted by the phosphor and the materials disclosed above generates an emission spectra which is typically in the blue, blue-green, and green wavelengths. While the invention is discussed with references to radiation being emitted in the visible light portion of the radiation spectrum, other materials emitting radiation in other portions of an emission spectra may be used and remain within the principles of the present invention. One way to construct the panel 12 is to modify an electroluminescent (EL) lamp. These devices are well known and an exemplary EL lamp is manufactured by Durel Corporation of Chandler, Arizona and designated as part number DB5-615B. The EL lamp structure differs from the structure shown in Figure 7 in that an exposed surface 40 of the dielectric layer 42 is bonded to an opaque electrode, such as aluminum, silver, or carbon. When an alternating current source is coupled to an EL lamp, the current passed from the opaque electrode to the transparent electrode excites the light emitting particles causing them to generate light. However, such a structure is inoperative to image relief objects as the opaque electrode provides a steady state flow of current across its area. The EL structure can be modified by removing the opaque electrode to expose the dielectric layer 42. By connecting the port 34 of the power supply 26 to an insulated pad located at an end of the dielectric layer 42, a finger brought in contact with the dielectric layer 42 may also be placed so it couples to the port 34. As a result, those portions of the finger 8 which directly contact dielectric layer 42 provide current at a magnitude different from the current provided at the portions of the finger 8 which are not in direct contact with the dielectric layer 42.

The dielectric layer/light emitting particles/transparent electrode structure may be electrically modeled as a capacitor in parallel with a resistor. In the materials preferably used to construct the present invention, the capacitance of this structure is in the range of 2-6 nFarads per 6.5 square centimeters (about one square inch) and the resistance is in the range of 50-1,500 KΩ per 6.5 square centimeters (about one square inch). The amplitude of the output voltage of the power supply 26 may be adjusted to alter the intensity of the emitted light which corresponds to the ridges of the finger 8. Current sensing or current limiting circuits may be coupled to the power supply 26 to ensure the current provided to the finger 8 adheres to international regulatory limits for applications where the relief object is a portion of a person.

Figure 8 shows an illustration of a second embodiment of the panel 12 connected, again for illustrative purposes, to the power supply 26. This embodiment may be used without a current limiting or sensing circuit. Using like numerals for like structure, the panel 12 includes the transparent electrode 46, the light emitting layer 44, and the dielectric layer 42. The various materials and structure discussed above with the embodiment of Figure 7 are likewise applicable for the embodiment shown in Figure 8. In addition to these elements, the panel 12 includes a variable resistive layer 48 and a flexible electrode 54 to which the port 34 of the power supply 26 is coupled. It is contemplated that in this embodiment the card 1 is modified in that the grounding ring 6a is removed and the electrical connection 6 connects the port 34 and the flexible electrode 54. The port 28 of the power supply 26 is coupled to the transparent electrode 46 as discussed above. The variable resistive layer 48 is comprised of a non-conducting, compressible polymeric material in which conductive particles are suffused. The conductive particles are distributed throughout the polymeric material and are separated from one another by a distance which is slightly larger than the diameters of the particles. The conductive particles may be low density polymeric or ceramic spheres coated with a metallic layer. Magnetic particles may also be added to the composition of the variable resistive layer to improve electrical conductivity. By varying the number of conductive particles per unit volume, the size of the particles, the conductive properties of the particles, the bulk material modulus of the polymeric material, and other known factors, the resistance of a conductive path from one surface of variable resistance layer 48 to the opposite surface as a function of pressure applied to the first surface may be designed to vary over a wide range. Where the particle sizes are small and the thickness of the polymeric material is thin, high spatial resolution of localized pressure is possible. Preferably, the diameters of the conductive particles and non-conductive metric polymers should be smaller than the smallest resolution element desired for the image. The thickness of variable resistance layer 48 should approximate the same resolution element size. Preferably, the thickness of the variable resistance layer is in the range of 50-100 micrometers. Variable resistive layers which may be used in the embodiment shown in Figure 8 are disclosed in the U.S. Patent Nos. 5,209,967 and 4,624,798. Preferably, the flexible electrode 54 is made of a thin polymer such as polypropylene or polyester that is less than 25 micrometers in thickness and having a very thin sputtered metallic coating. When the finger 8 is brought in contact with flexible electrode 54, those portions of the finger 8 which directly contact the flexible electrode 54, i.e., ridges 50, locally compress the resistive layer 48 to from a conductive path to the dielectric layer 42. This conductive path allows current to move from the flexible electrode 54 through the resistance layer 48, the dielectric layer 42 and the light emitting layer 44 to the transparent electrode 46. This current flow excites the light emitting particles in the flow path so the particles emit light at an intensity that corresponds to the magnitude of the current.

As the pressure in the areas adjacent the valleys 52 of the finger 8 do not compress those areas of the resistance layer 48 as tightly as those areas adjacent the ridges 50, the conductive paths in the areas adjacent the valleys 52 have electrical resistance that is greater than those areas adjacent the ridges 50. Consequently, the light emitting particles aligned with the relatively incompressed areas of the resistance layer 48 emit light having an intensity that is less than that generated by the more tightly compressed areas. Accordingly, an optical image of the finger 8 is generated where light is more intense at the areas corresponding to the ridges 50 of the finger 8 and less intense at the areas where there are valleys 52 in the finger 8.

The flexible electrode 54 and the resistive layer 48 provide a pressure-to-optical conversion of the relief features of the finger 8. As a result, the light absorbing and reflective properties of the finger 8 do not affect the image generated by the embodiment shown in Figure 8. Furthermore, the flexible electrode 54 isolates the finger 8 from the current output by the power supply 26. As the electrical coupling mechanism from the finger 8 to the electrode 54, and from the resistance layer 48 to the dielectric layer 42 is primarily resistive, altering the amplitude of the output voltage still adjusts the intensity of the light emitted from the light emitting particles receiving current from the flexible electrode 54. Figure 9 shows an embodiment of the panel 12 including an organic electroluminescent device. The panel 12 includes an anode 62, an organic layer 64 and a pixelated low work function metalization layer 66. The anode 62 is transparent and may be formed by coating a base substrate of glass or plastic with indium tin oxide (ITO). An organic layer 64 is formed by depositiong a thin film layer such as polyaniliπe over the ITO and then an electroluminescent polymer such as poly (2-methoxy-5(2'-ethylhexyloyx)-1, 4-phenylene vinylene), also commonly known as MEH-PEV, is deposited over the polyanilene. A metal, such as calcium or aluminum, is deposited over organic layer 64 to form pixelated, low work function metalization layer 66. Preferably, the power supply 26 is a direct current (DC) source which outputs a voltage of approximately 10 volts at approximately 40 mil amperes

Figure 10 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary enrollment procedure used to obtain and store the fingerprint of a new, authorized user. In order to identify a present user as an authorized user during an authentication procedure, the matching algorithm must be able to compare the present fingerprint with the stored fingerprints of enrolled users. The enrollment procedure is described with reference to the system 14 of Figure 3.

In one embodiment, the processor 18 of the system 14 controls the enrollment procedure. However, it is contemplated that the enrollment procedure may be controlled by a remote host system or by a processor on the card 1.

Referring to step 100, the system 14 initializes the enrollment procedure. For example, the system 14 checks if the card reader 16 is properly connected and powered. The system 14 may have a terminal to prompt the user through the procedure. The terminal may generate visual and/or audible commands. In case the system 14 is a personal computer, the terminal includes the computer's monitor to display visual instructions. During initialization, the system 14 prompts the user to insert the card 1 and determines whether the card 1 is a valid card.

Proceeding to steps 104 and 108, the system 14 prompts the user to place a finger on the contact area 2 of the card 1. When the finger is placed, the finger contacts the ground ring and thereby closes the electrical circuit. The system 14 detects that a current is flowing and determines that the finger is placed. The procedure proceeds along the YES branch to step 112. In case the system detects no finger, the procedure returns along the NO branch to step 104.

Proceeding to steps 112 and 1 16, the system 14 activates the image detector 22 to capture the image of the fingerprint and to obtain a fingerprint template. The system 14 is configured to determine whether the fingerprint template has a certain quality. For example, the system 14 determines if the image is too bright or dark, or if the finger is misplaced on the contact area 2 and therefore does not cover the complete contact area 2. If necessary, returning along the NO branch of step 1 16 to step 104, the system 12 may prompt the user to place the finger again. If the quality of the obtained template is good, the procedure proceeds along the YES branch of step 116 to step 120.

In step 120, the system 14 stores the fingerprint template in a memory. After storing the fingerprint template, the memory is write-protected to avoid any manipulation of the memory. The fingerprint of the authorized user is then available for subsequent matching and authentication procedures. The enrollment procedure ends at step 124.

Figure 1 1 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary authentication procedure to verify whether the present user is an authorized user. For the system 14 to verify a user, the user must have been enrolled through the procedure illustrated in Figure 10. Hereinafter, it is assumed that the enrollment procedure successfully enrolled the user.

Referring to step 200, the system 14 triggers the authentication procedure when the user inserts the card and requests authentication. The system 14 may be configured that it is, as a default setting, set to operate in an authentication mode. If the user wants to enroll, the user has to request enrollment which starts the enrollment procedure described above. Proceeding to steps 204 and 208, the system 14 prompts the user to place a finger on the contact area 2 of the card 1. When the finger is placed, the finger contacts the ground ring and thereby closes the electrical circuit. The system 14 detects that a current is flowing and determines that the finger is placed. The procedure proceeds along the YES branch to step 212. In case the system detects no finger, the procedure returns along the NO branch to step 204.

Proceeding to step 212, the system 14 activates the image detector 22 to capture the image of the fingerprint and to obtain a fingerprint template The system 14 is configured to determine whether the fingerprint template has a certain quality. For example, the system 14 determines if the image is too bright or dark, or if the finger is misplaced on the contact area 2 and therefore does not cover the complete contact area 2. If necessary, the system 12 may prompt the user to place the finger again. If the quality of the obtained template is good, the system 14 stores the template of the present fingerprint in a random access memory (RAM).

Proceeding to steps 218, 220, and 224, the processor 18 of the system 14 reads the templates of the stored fingerprints from the memory and compares each stored fingerprint with the present fingerprint If the present fingerprint does not match one of the stored fingerprints, the procedure proceeds along the NO branch of step 224 to step 228.

In step 228, the processor 18 generates a signal indicating that the present user is not an authorized user. This signal may be display as "ACCESS DENIED" to inform the present user. The signal may trigger other procedures that lock access to the system 14. The system 14, thus, ends the authentication procedure in step 236.

In step 224, if the user is identified as an authorized user, the procedure proceeds along the YES branch to step 232. The processor 18 generates a signal indicating that the present user is an authorized user. The signal may trigger procedures that allow access to and operation of the system 14. The system 14 ends the authentication procedure in step 236. The various embodiments of the card 1 described herein serve as portable imaging devices to generate images of the surface characteristics of relief objects such as fingers. The card 1 is generally flat and flexible so that a user can carry the card 1 conveniently in his wallet without being afraid of breaking it. In addition to generating an image, for example, of the user's fingerprint, the card 1 can be configured to be user specific. That is, a memory device embedded in the card 1 can store the electronic representation of the user's fingerprint, and confidential user-specific data ("user identity") that is only accessible when the user "unlocks" it. It is contemplated that the memory device can store the identities of more than one user, for example, the identities of the members of a family, or other groups.

While the above detailed description has shown, described and identified several novel features of the invention as applied to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood that various omissions, substitutions and changes in the form and details of the described embodiments may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should not be limited to the foregoing discussion, but should be defined by the appended claims.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A fingerprint imaging device, comprising. a substrate having a planar top surface and a planar bottom surface opposite the top surface; a designated area on the top surface to receive a finger and a corresponding designated area on the bottom surface; and an image generator positioned within the designated areas and having optical properties that provide an illuminated image of a surface of the finger, the illuminated image being available for capturing by an image detector positionable in proximity of the bottom surface of the substrate.
2. The imaging device of Claim 1, wherein the image generator includes an electro-optical panel.
3. The imaging device of Claim 1, further comprising an electrical connection connected to an electrode of the electro optical panel to supply a voltage from a power supply.
4. The imaging device of Claim 3, wherein the electro optical panel comprises an electroluminescent device generating a self-illuminated image of the finger, the self illuminated image being visible at the bottom surface.
5. The imaging device of Claim 1 , wherein the image generator is formed by material that is deposited onto the substrate, the material including a light emitting material.
6. The imaging device of Claim 5, wherein the substrate is at least between the designated areas transparent for light emitted by the image generator.
7. An imaging device, comprising: a substrate having a planar top surface and a planar bottom surface opposite the top surface; a designated area on the top surface to receive a relief object and a corresponding designated area on the bottom surface; and a relief object image generator positioned within the designated areas and having optical properties that provide an image of the relief object, the image being available for capturing by an image detector positionable in proximity of the substrate.
8. The imaging device of Claim 7, wherein the relief object image generator includes an electro-optical panel.
9. The imaging device of Claim 8, further comprising an electrical connection connected to an electrode of the electro-optical panel to supply a voltage from a power supply.
10. The imaging device of Claim 9, wherein the electro optical panel comprises an electroluminescent device generating a self illuminated image of the relief object visible at the bottom surface.
11. The imaging device of Claim 7, further comprising an integrated circuit accessible by a host system.
12. The imaging device of Claim 1 1 , wherein the integrated circuit comprises a non volatile memory storing at least one of system data and user data.
13. The imaging device of Claim 11, wherein the integrated circuit includes a processor configured to communicate with the host system.
14 The imaging device of Claim 1 1, wherein the integrated circuit comprises a non-volatile memory storing at least one of system data and user data, and a processor configured to communicate at least with one of the host system and the nonvolatile memory.
15. The imaging device of Claim 12, wherein the user data includes an electronic representation of a predefined relief object.
16. The imaging device of Claim 15, wherein the user data further includes confidential personal data.
17. The imaging device of Claim 12, wherein the system data includes program code for use by a host system in communication with the imaging device.
18. The imaging device of Claim 17, wherein the program code is only accessible upon enabling the nonvolatile memory.
19. An imaging device, comprising- a plastic-like substrate having a planar top surface and a planar bottom surface opposite the top surface; a designated area on the top surface to receive a relief object; and a corresponding designated area on the bottom surface, the substrate between the designated area and the corresponding designated area having optical properties that provide an image of the relief object within the corresponding designated area, the image being available for capturing by an image detector positionable in proximity of the substrate.
20. The device of Claim 19, wherein the substrate is at least between the designated areas transparent for light.
21. The device of Claim 19, wherein the substrate comprises at least between the designated areas an optically active material that generates the image of the relief object.
22. The device of Claim 19, wherein the designated area comprises an electro-optical material that generates the image of the relief object.
23. The device of Claim 22, wherein the electro optical material includes an electroluminescent material that generates a self-illuminated image of the relief object.
24. The device of Claim 19, wherein the relief object is a fingertip.
25. An imaging system for a relief object, comprising: a substrate having a planar top surface and a planar bottom surface opposite the top surface, the substrate having a designated area on the top surface to receive a relief object and a corresponding designated area on the bottom surface, and a relief object image generator positioned within the designated areas and having optical properties that provide an image of the relief object; and an image detector positioned in proximity of the substrate to capture the image of the relief object generated by the relief object image generator.
26. The system of Claim 25, further comprising a power supply configured to provide power to the relief object image generator
27 The system of Claim 26, wherein the power supply detects whether a relief object is placed on the designated area
28 The system of Claim 25, further comprising a controller coupled to the image generator and receiving an electronic representation of the image of the relief object.
29 The system of Claim 28, further comprising a power supply configured to provide power to the relief object image generator, the power supply being coupled to the controller and generating a signai indicating whether a relief object is placed on the designated area, the controller receiving the generated signal from the power supply.
30 The system of Claim 28, wherein the substrate further comprises an integrated circuit accessible by the controller.
31 The system of Claim 30, wherein the integrated circuit includes a nonvolatile memory storing at least one of user data and system data.
32. The system of Claim 31 , wherein the nonvolatile memory stores an electronic representation of a predefined relief object.
33 The system of Claim 32, wherein the controller is configured to access the nonvolatile memory to obtain the electronic representation of the predefined relief object.
34. The system of Claim 33, wherein the controller receives the electronic representation of the predefined relief object and the electronic representation of the relief object placed on the designated area of the substrate.
35. The system of Claim 34, wherein the controller is configured to compare the electronic representation of the predefined relief object and the electronic representation of the relief object placed on the designated area of the substrate, and to generate a signal indicating whether the electronic representations match.
36. The system of Claim 34, wherein the controller forwards the electronic representation of the predefined relief object and the electronic representation of the relief object placed on the designated area of the substrate to a processor configured to compare the representations and to generate a signal indicating whether the electronic representations match.
37. The system of Claim 32, wherein the integrated circuit further comprises a processor, the processor configured to communicate with the nonvolatile memory and the controller.
38. The system of Claim 37, wherein the processor is configured to compare the electronic representation of the predefined relief object and the electronic representation of the relief object placed on the designated area of the substrate, and to generate a signal indicating whether the electronic representations match
39 The system of Claim 38, wherein the nonvolatile memory is configured to be accessed only when the generated signal indicates the electronic representations match
40 A method of generating an electrical representation of a fingerprint, comprising: removably positioning a substrate in proximity of an image detector so that the image detector faces a bottom surface of the substrate, the bottom surface being opposite a top surface, which has a designated area for receiving a finger, and having a corresponding designated area, the substrate having predetermined optical characteristics between the designated areas; placing a finger on the designated area on the top surface so that an image of the finger is visible within the corresponding designated area at the bottom surface; and capturing the image of the finger with the image detector that converts the image into an electronic representation of a fingerprint.
41. The method of Claim 40, further comprising providing electrical power to an electroluminescent material located between the designated areas, the electroluminescent material being configured to generate a self illuminated image of the fingerprint.
42. The method of Claim 41, further comprising determining the quality of the captured image and repeating said capturing until the quality is satisfactory.
43. A method of manufacturing an imaging device, comprising: forming a substrate having a planar top surface and a planar bottom surface opposite the top surface; defining a designated area on the top surface for receiving a finger and a corresponding designated area on the bottom surface; assigning an image generator to the designated areas, the image generator having optical properties that provide an illuminated image of a surface of a finger when placed on the designated area of the top surface, the illuminated image being available for capturing by an image detector positionable in proximity of the bottom surface of the substrate.
44. The method of Claim 43, further comprising providing electrical connections leading to the image generator, the electrical connections providing electrical power to the image generator.
45 The method of Claim 43, further comprising providing an embedded integrated circuit, the integrated circuit being connectable to an external controller.
46. The method of Claim 45, wherein the integrated circuit includes at least one of a memory device and a processing device.
47. A method of verifying and authenticating a user, comprising: removably positioning a substrate in proximity of an image detector so that the image detector faces a bottom surface of the substrate, the bottom surface being opposite a top surface, which has a designated area for receiving a finger, and having a corresponding designated area, the substrate having predetermined optical characteristics between the designated areas; placing a finger on the designated area on the top surface so that an image of the finger is visible within the corresponding designated area at the bottom surface; capturing the image of the finger with the image detector that converts the image into an electronic representation of a fingerprint; and generating a signal indicating that the user is an authorized user when the electronic representation of the fingerprint matches a stored electronic representation of the user's fingerprint.
48. The method of Claim 47, further comprising storing electronic representations of fingerprints of a plurality of users in a memory device within a host system, and comparing the electronic representation of the fingerprint with the stored electronic representations.
49. The method of Claim 47, further comprising storing an electronic representation of the user's fingerprint in a memory device embedded in the substrate, and comparing the electronic representation of the fingerprint with the stored electronic representation.
50. The method of Claim 49, further comprising reading the stored electronic representation of the fingerprint from the memory device into a host system and comparing the electronic representation of the fingerprint with the stored electronic representation within the host system.
51. The method of Claim 49, further comprising reading the stored electronic representation of the fingerprint from the memory device into a processing unit embedded in the substrate and comparing the electronic representation of the fingerprint with the stored electronic representation in the processing unit.
52. The method of Claim 49, further comprising storing computer code in the memory device.
53. The method of Claim 49, further comprising storing user-specific data in the memory device.
54. The method of Claim 53, further comprising releasing the user specific data when the electronic representation of the fingerprint matches the stored electronic representation of the fingerprint.
PCT/US2000/011544 1999-04-26 2000-04-26 Imaging device for a relief object and system and method of using the image device WO2000065542A1 (en)

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