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Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience
Volume 2011, Article ID 720971, 8 pages
Research Article

Unveiling the Biometric Potential of Finger-Based ECG Signals

1Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa, Scientific Area of Electronics, Telecommunications and Computers, 1959-007 Lisboa, Portugal
2Instituto de Telecomunicações, Scientific Area of Networks and Multimedia, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
3Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal

Received 15 March 2011; Accepted 14 June 2011

Academic Editor: Fabio Babiloni

Copyright © 2011 André Lourenço et al. 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.


The ECG signal has been shown to contain relevant information for human identification. Even though results validate the potential of these signals, data acquisition methods and apparatus explored so far compromise user acceptability, requiring the acquisition of ECG at the chest. In this paper, we propose a finger-based ECG biometric system, that uses signals collected at the fingers, through a minimally intrusive 1-lead ECG setup recurring to Ag/AgCl electrodes without gel as interface with the skin. The collected signal is significantly more noisy than the ECG acquired at the chest, motivating the application of feature extraction and signal processing techniques to the problem. Time domain ECG signal processing is performed, which comprises the usual steps of filtering, peak detection, heartbeat waveform segmentation, and amplitude normalization, plus an additional step of time normalization. Through a simple minimum distance criterion between the test patterns and the enrollment database, results have revealed this to be a promising technique for biometric applications.