A Comprehensive Overview of Biometric Fusion

Maneet Singh, Richa Singh, Arun Ross

The performance of a biometric system that relies on a single biometric modality (e.g., fingerprints only) is often stymied by various factors such as poor data quality or limited scalability. Multibiometric systems utilize the principle of fusion to combine information from multiple sources in order to improve recognition accuracy whilst addressing some of the limitations of single-biometric systems. The past two decades have witnessed the development of a large number of biometric fusion schemes. This paper presents an overview of biometric fusion with specific focus on three questions: what to fuse, when to fuse, and how to fuse. A comprehensive review of techniques incorporating ancillary information in the biometric recognition pipeline is also presented. In this regard, the following topics are discussed: (i) incorporating data quality in the biometric recognition pipeline; (ii) combining soft biometric attributes with primary biometric identifiers; (iii) utilizing contextual information to improve biometric recognition accuracy; and (iv) performing continuous authentication using ancillary information. In addition, the use of information fusion principles for presentation attack detection and multibiometric cryptosystems is also discussed. Finally, some of the research challenges in biometric fusion are enumerated. The purpose of this article is to provide readers a comprehensive overview of the role of information fusion in biometrics.

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