Fingerprints and other personal identification patterns
The availability of rapid and accurate measurement and image acquisition techniques has made practical applications of biometrics possible that would never have been imagined in the early days of fingerprint research and development. Fingerprints are among the oldest and most important kinds of information used for human identification. The three features of fingerprints underlying their utility as a means of personal identification are: every fingerprint is unique to an individual; fingerprints do not change throughout life, unless there is some significant damage to the dermal layer of skin; and they can be classified for convenient file searching. Most of the time, collection of fingerprint evidence involves collecting and submitting the intact item that bears, or might bear, the fingerprint.