How can my school build a finger-print based database for daily attendance registration?

Rhobenn Jericho June 5, 2013
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Hello MakeUseOf team and community,

I’m a 17 year-old student, representing my school team… and we have one project in mind. First of all, sorry for the not-so-good English. (Editor’s note: No worries :)

We’re going to make a database with the information of all the students in our school and we’re going to store their fingerprints. Then they’ll have to check-in everyday with one of the 6 devices which will be located at the entrance. This will save about 3 minutes of every class and will get rid of the possibility of obvious human errors (I didn’t hear my name, I was in the bathroom, you skipped me, etc).

We’d like to know what software we should be using for this? We’d like the software to read the fingerprint and then encrypt it in a text file which we can actually use, unlike the default applications which hide the stored fingerprints. Do you have any assistance with the kind of database we should be using? We have Microsoft Access in mind.

We’re using the “Digitalpersona U.are.U 4000b” fingerprint reader, as we can’t afford to spend much more on a fingerprint reader right now. Our project is in the planning and research phase and we’d greatly appreciate your help.

Thank you.

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  1. Emmanuel
    August 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    i have a project at hand.The project topic is "biometric authentication of banking operations using fingerprint". Am having few weeks to complete this project, yet i have not gotten enough clue for this job. please i need advise on the best programming language to use and the necessary tools required. Thanks

  2. suad n
    June 7, 2013 at 10:06 am

    If you're minor, they can't. They did the same to my school (only for the cafeteria and those that eat there) and got in trouble, so they drooped the idea. Maybe because one of the children was from an ambassador and he did it. We were told that was illegal and that they didn't have any rights to do that.
    Hope I helped

  3. Jan Fritsch
    June 5, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Personally I don't see much of a legal issue if you have the approval of your school.

    In order to build a database and record students attendance they first have to give you their fingerprint(s) one by one which means you are not unlawfully collecting them.

    I've only had hands on with one system so far but it's quite nice and easy. ekey net
    The ekey net version can store up to 2000 fingerprints so basically you can have up to 2000 people in the database ~ or you can go for redundancy and have e.g. 2 fingers per person and therefor up to 1000 users.

    It's also an intelligent system constantly learning and adding unique identification points. At the beginning it may take people several tries until the fingerprint is detected but the more they use it the more the system learns.

    The ekey net version uses a central server storing the user database with their fingerprints. Scanners then only need to be connected via network.

    http://www.ekey.net/ekey-net-en

    As I was only involved on the technical site I can't give you any estimate on the prize. It does cost a bit but works really well.

  4. Rajaa Chowdhury
    June 5, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Coincidentally, one of my customers has exactly the same requirement and also a budget constraint. For his school, he also wants an attendance management system with biometric attendance data collection through fingerprint access devices. We are giving a browser based solution developed on PHP, with Apache web server / TomCat and a MySQL backend. Probably you can look into a similar scenario and then you can save a lot on license pricing of the database and the middleware besides having a browser based computing environment. The database and the application server can be in-premise.

  5. dragonmouth
    June 5, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I agree with Oron Joffe - check the legality of collecting fingerprints before you even start the project. The project may be a great learning experience, it may be different, it may be cool but it also may be illegal.

  6. Oron Joffe
    June 5, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Rhobenn, check your local data protection laws carefully and consider your security arrangements for the data. Not all countries would allow you to do this, or they may require advance permission from EVERY student. If you store the full data in a database, it could potentially be stolen and misused, so you should make sure a) that it doesn't happen and b) that the data is encrypted so that even if stolen, it cannot be used.

  7. Rob H
    June 5, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Remember that it's not 100% reliable. For one thing people may have injuries preventing them presenting their finger.
    I was at a technology exhibition and a guy I know was keen to demonstrate his fingerprint scanner to me. He'd been successfully doing it all day but it just refused to recognise me after several tries, re-registering me etc. I passed the stand a few more times and we kept having another go absolutely no success and nobody could work out why. (Maybe I'm an android, how can I check!)
    So you need to ensure there's a contingency plan for folk like me!

  8. Bruce Epper
    June 5, 2013 at 2:35 am

    You should be able to use any kind of database at all for this that supports BLOBs (Binary Large Objects). Your fingerprint data will need to be dropped into one of those types of fields. If this is a local database, you should be able to restrict access locally and avoid the requirement of encrypting the fingerprint data itself. Also, the fingerprint data is binary and does not lend itself to placement into a text file encrypted or not.

    Take a look at the Digitalpersona website regarding their SDK for their devices. Based on their whitepaper, it should have everything you need to write your applicaiton for your preferred platform (Windows or Linux).

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