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False Acceptance in Winter: Fingerprint Scanners Fail

False Acceptance in Winter: Fingerprint Scanners Fail

False Acceptance in Winter: Fingerprint Scanners Fail

The vast majority of businesses nowadays use some sort of biometric attendance system to keep tabs on workers. Biometric identification has several benefits. After confirming their identities, workers need just unlock their phones to record their attendance.

In addition, you don’t need to make use of any additional machinery or equipment to tally attendance. The biometric attendance system can confidently verify your identification thanks to the friction ridges on your fingertips.

Why do fingerprint scanners fail in cold weather?

Fingerprint scanners begin to act in unexpected ways when the temperature drops below ten degrees Celsius. In most cases, the system will not allow a user to enlist, and even enrolled users will need to scan many times before they are allowed to proceed. Sometimes, even if you haven’t officially registered, it’ll still let you in (false acceptance). How come this keeps occurring?

Human skin loses its natural moisture and becomes excessively dry in extremely cold conditions. Some people’s skin can begin to show signs of this issue at much warmer temperatures (about 5 degrees Celsius). Similarly, the friction ridges on human skin dry down and become less effective in cold temperatures. The worst-case scenario is that it will begin to peel and split. Even the smallest changes in the design of friction ridges can have an impact on their use for biometric identification.

Skin becomes drier and more rigid in cold temperatures, which reduces blood flow and worsens skin texture. The human skin is no exception to the rule that low temperatures cause things to shrink. Skin cracking and peeling caused by the dryness of friction ridges also contribute to poor fingerprint identification accuracy. The system may flat-out refuse to confirm a scan or enroll a user.

Cold weather and skin conductance

Skin conductance drops when water evaporates. But that’s not the only thing causing your skin to conduct electricity so poorly. The human body’s defense strategy against cold weather is a decrease in blood flow to the skin, which helps the body maintain its internal temperature. Reduced blood flow and loss of skin moisture both have a detrimental effect on skin conductivity. For capacitive fingerprint sensors to function, skin conductivity is essential. This is the standard sort of sensor found on modern smartphones, used both for security purposes and to unlock the device.

When it’s really cold (often below minus 10 degree Celsius), it’s no surprise if it takes many tries to unlock your phone. Cold weather renders your friction ridges ineffective for biometric authentication, making it appear as though there is an issue with the phone or sensor.

How to maintain fingerprinting performance in winter?

Since the issue is worsened skin condition in the winter, there are a few things that can be done to keep fingerprinting performance at a satisfactory level even when the temperature drops.

  • Choose scanners that are protected against moisture and dust; for instance, fingerprint scanners with an IP rating are completely sealed and unaffected by the weather or dust.
  • Gloves help by trapping heat and moisture in the hands, but they are not an ideal solution. To begin with, if you wear gloves, you’ll have to remove them to use a fingerprint scanner. People typically utilize fingerprint recognition on their smartphones many times each day, so this may get annoying quickly.
  • If you use enough lotion or moisturizer on your fingers, it can assist maintain healthy moisture levels. However, they will act as a contaminant and cause failed finger scans or false acceptance if administered in excess of what is necessary.
  • Users who are having this issue may need to be re-enrolled, albeit it’s not a good idea to enroll fingerprints that aren’t in their typical state.


The biometric time attendance machine is outstanding in its usefulness and convenience in virtually all workplace settings. Scanning fingerprints can be tricky in humid conditions because of increased skin moisture. It becomes inoperable when temperatures become extremely low, as low as ten degrees below zero Celsius. Humans are not ideal biometric authentication or identification devices due to the friction ridges on our skin. To protect your skin from the cold, you may take steps like applying moisturizer, wearing gloves, or utilizing a scanner with a waterproof build. In addition, using fingerprint scanners repeatedly while wearing gloves might be a hassle.