Fingerprint scanner for the living dead

Paul Marks

IF AN invading zombie army is staggering towards your front door, don’t worry: a fingerprint-activated door lock could save your bacon. That’s because one group of researchers has worked out how a biometric scanner can keep the undead at bay.

OK, so they weren’t specifically trying to stop zombies, but there is genuine concern about dead flesh being used to spoof fingerprint scanners. Severed fingers and even fingers cut from corpses can be used to give the bad guys entry to secure facilities, to steal cars or log on to computers.

It sounds outlandish, but the first reported case was in March 2005, when thieves stole a biometrics-activated Mercedes in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Initially they took the owner with them so he could start the car, but they soon tired of his presence – and hacked off his digit before dumping him at the roadside.

To combat such bloody skulduggery, researchers at Dermalog Identification Systems in Hamburg, Germany, have developed a way for a fingerprint scanner to differentiate between live and dead tissue.

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No entry for zombies (Image: c.AMC/Everett/Rex Features)

No entry for zombies (Image: c.AMC/Everett/Rex Features)

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