For more than 100 years, the uniqueness of fingerprints has been acknowledged and exploited mainly by law enforcement. Ink and paper are still used today, but direct electronic fingerprint capture has been recently introduced with much success. Combining such methods with powerful microprocessors and pattern matching software has opened new applications in the commercial market. This new field of biometrics provides an exciting look into the future. This technical paper will introduce the fingerprint recognition mechanism and present different types of fingerprint sensors, with silicon-based sensors shown as a less expensive solution. Then, the fingerprint system will be detailed from a silicon point-of-view: how the integration of the sensor and processor may enhance the cost and the security, associated (or not) with a smart card.

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