Skip to content


  • Research Article
  • Open Access

Efficient and Secure Fingerprint Verification for Embedded Devices

EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing20062006:058263

  • Received: 9 March 2005
  • Accepted: 21 January 2006
  • Published:


This paper describes a secure and memory-efficient embedded fingerprint verification system. It shows how a fingerprint verification module originally developed to run on a workstation can be transformed and optimized in a systematic way to run real-time on an embedded device with limited memory and computation power. A complete fingerprint recognition module is a complex application that requires in the order of 1000 M unoptimized floating-point instruction cycles. The goal is to run both the minutiae extraction and the matching engines on a small embedded processor, in our case a 50 MHz LEON-2 softcore. It does require optimization and acceleration techniques at each design step. In order to speed up the fingerprint signal processing phase, we propose acceleration techniques at the algorithm level, at the software level to reduce the execution cycle number, and at the hardware level to distribute the system work load. Thirdly, a memory trace map-based memory reduction strategy is used for lowering the system memory requirement. Lastly, at the hardware level, it requires the development of specialized coprocessors. As results of these optimizations, we achieve a 65% reduction on the execution time and a 67% reduction on the memory storage requirement for the minutiae extraction process, compared against the reference implementation. The complete operation, that is, fingerprint capture, feature extraction, and matching, can be done in real-time of less than 4 seconds


  • Acceleration Technique
  • Embed Processor
  • Minutia Extraction
  • Execution Cycle
  • Hardware Level

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Electrical Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
ESAT-COSIC, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, Leuven-Heverlee, 3001, Belgium


  1. Gil Y, Moon D, Pan S, Chung Y: Fingerprint verification system involving smart card. Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Security and Cryptology, November 2003, Seoul, Korea, LNCS 2587: 510–524.MATHGoogle Scholar
  2. Prabhakar S, Pankanti S, Jain AK: Biometric recognition: security and privacy concerns. IEEE Security and Privacy Magazine 2003, 1(2):33–42. 10.1109/MSECP.2003.1193209View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  3. Raghunathan V, Schurgers C, Park S, Srivastava MB: Energy-aware wireless microsensor networks. IEEE Signal Processing Magazine 2002, 19(2):40–50. 10.1109/79.985679View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  4. Hrechak AK, Mchugh JA: Automated fingerprint recognition using structural matching. Pattern Recognition 1990, 23(8):893–904. 10.1016/0031-3203(90)90134-7View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  5. Jain A, Hong L, Bolle R: On-line fingerprint verification. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence 1997, 19(4):302–314. 10.1109/34.587996View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  6. Jiang X, Yau W-Y: Fingerprint minutiae matching based on the local and global structures. Proceedings of the International Conference on Pattern Recognition, September 2000, Barcelona, Spain 6038–6041.Google Scholar
  7. Yang S, Sakiyama K, Verbauwhede I: A compact and efficient fingerprint verification system for secure embedded devices. Proceedings of the 37th Asilomar Conference on Signal Systems, and Computers, November 2003, Pacific Grove, Calif, USA 2058–2062.Google Scholar
  8. Wahab A, Chin SH, Tan EC: Novel approach to automated fingerprint recognition. IEE Proceedings - Vision, Image and Signal Processing 1998, 145(3):160–166. 10.1049/ip-vis:19981809View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  9. Panda P, Catthoor F, Dutt N, et al.: Data and memory optimization techniques for embedded systems. ACM Transactions on Design Automation of Electronic Systems 2001, 6(2):149–206. 10.1145/375977.375978View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  10. Verbauwhede I, Catthoor F, Vandewalle J, De Man H: Background memory management for the synthesis of algebraic algorithms on multi-processor DSP chips. Proceedings of the International Conference on VLSI (VLSI '89), August 1989, Munich, Germany 209–218.Google Scholar
  11. Verbauwhede I, Scheers C, Rabaey J: Memory estimation for high level synthesis. Proceedings of the 31st ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference, June 1994, San Diego, Calif, USA 143–148.Google Scholar
  12. Grun P, Balasa F, Dutt N: Memory size estimation for multimedia applications. Proceedings of the 6th International Workshop on Hardware/Software Codesign, March 1998, Seattle, Wash, USA 145–149.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  13. Zhao Y, Malik S: Exact memory size estimation for array computations without loop unrolling. Proceedings of the 36th ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference, June 1999, New Orleans, La, USA 811–816.Google Scholar
  14. Gupta P, Ravi S, Raghunathan A, Jha NK: Efficient fingerprint-based user authentication for embedded systems. Proceedings of Design Automation Conference, June 2005, Anaheim, Calif, USA 228–233.Google Scholar
  16. FVC2000: The First International Fingerprint Verification Competition,
  18. Garris MD, Watson CI, McCabe RM, Wilson CL: User's Guide to NIST Fingerprint Image Software (NFIS). NISTIR 6813, National Institute of Standards and TechnologyGoogle Scholar
  19. Schaumont P, Sakiyama K, Hodjat A, Verbauwhede I: Embedded software integration for coarse-grain reconfigurable architectures. IEEE 18th International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS '04), April 2004, Santa Fe, NM, USA 137–142.Google Scholar
  20. Schaumont P, Verbauwhede I: Interactive cosimulation with partial evaluation. Proceedings of Design Automation and Test in Europe (DATE '04), February 2004, Paris, France 642–647.Google Scholar
  21. FVC2004: The Third International Fingerprint Verification Competition,
  22. Danckaert K, Catthoor F, De Man H: A loop transformation approach for combined parallelization and data transfer and storage. Proceedings of International Conference on Parallel and Distributed Processing Techniques and Applications (PDPTA '00), June 2000, Las Vegas, Nev, USA 5: 2591–2597.Google Scholar
  23. Catthoor F, Danckaert K, Wuytack S, Dutt ND: Code transformations for data transfer and storage exploration preprocessing in multimedia processors. IEEE Design & Test of Computers 2001, 18(3):70–82. 10.1109/54.922804View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  24. Anderson RJ: Security Engineering, A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, USA; 2001. chapter 13Google Scholar
  26. Hwang D, Schaumont P, Fan Y, et al.: Design flow for HW/SW acceleration transparency in the ThumbPod secure embedded system. Proceedings of the 40th ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference, June 2003, Anaheim, Calif, USA 60–65.Google Scholar


© Yang et al. 2006

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.