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Biometric Systems

Biometric systems are composed of complex hardware and software designed to measure a signature of the human body, compare the signature to a database, and render a decision for a given application based on the identification achieved from this matching process. Uses of biometric systems for positive personal identification are experiencing rapid growth in such areas as law enforcement, access control, banking and a wide range of business and administrative systems. In an even broader application context, biometric systems are having a revolutionary impact on health care and the enhancement of the human computer interface including in vivo identification of specific human conditions via implantable devices and the automated administration of life-saving medical therapies. The continued rapid advance of integrated sensor, signal/image processing, computer and mass storage technology promises to extend these applications further into our daily lives with even the most inanimate objects able to identify, interact with and assist their users.

Career Profile

Biometric identification is a highly interdisciplinary field mixing traditional engineering with the forensic sciences. As a result, the engineering design and development of biometric systems requires knowledge of the biometric as well as the engineering disciplines. Designers work with the physics of the sensor to obtain measurements of the biometric defined by human physiology. Signal and image processing techniques are applied to the sensor signal to extract features usable for identification. Databases combined with artificial intelligence enable rapid storage, retrieval and pattern matching while decision theory supports the mechanisms whereby systems can provide the needed identification results. Underlying the entire system is a foundation of statistics and mathematics which provides the language for implementing and evaluating biometric technology and systems.

Sample Course Schedules

Wondering what your typical day might be like? We used students’ real course schedules to create these examples.

Freshman Year

ENGR 101 Engineering Problem Solving 1 HIST 102 Western Civilization: 1600 to Present CHEM 115 Fundamentals of Chemistry MATH 155 Calculus 1 ENGR 199 Orientation to Engineering

Senior Year

BIOM 480 Senior Design Seminar EE 425 Bioengineering CS 465 Introduction to Computer Security PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology IENG 377 Engineering Economy

English Proficiency Requirements

All applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Learn more about our English language proficiency requirements.

Accreditation Information

WVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Alumni Profile

Sarah Soliman

A 2007 graduate with degrees in computer engineering and biometric systems, Sarah Soliman works for a defense intelligence consulting firm. She spent time in Afghanistan working with aerial surveillance platforms and in Iraq working with the Department of Defense’s Tactical Biometric System.

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