By WESLIE STRATTON
Moapa Valley Progress
The newly opened Mesquite Library facility hosted a STEAM activity for youth ages 6 to 11 on June 7. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. Last week’s activity was on the topic of biometric identification systems.
Librarian Cristina Sessions led young participants in a discussion about the importance of fingerprints and how they are used in technology as security keys on cell phones.
“Biometric systems provide a means of verifying identity by collecting information about unique human characteristics and comparing that information to previously-submitted data,” Sessions said.
She explained that systems use information about users’ unique fingerprints and a matcher that helps make the decision on whether or not the device should be unlocked.
“In order for a biometric deployment to be successful, the system needs to be able to quickly and reliably accept authorized users and reject unauthorized users,” she said. “Because you don’t want a neighbor to be able to open your phone.”
Sessions described various types of sensors and how they read and measure the ridges and valleys of an individuals fingerprint.
“Your fingerprints are super unique,” she said. “We all have unique fingerprints.”
She explained that there are challenges that can interfere with a sensors ability to accurately read a fingerprint.
“A sensor’s ability to collect usable data can be influenced by various external conditions, including demographic variables, users’ skin conditions and environmental variables,” she said.
Sessions distributed a large fingerprint graphic printed on paper and invited the kids to fill it in with words describing everything that is unique about them. Kids were also instructed how to transfer their fingerprints on paper by coloring over them with a marker and then pressing their fingers onto a piece of paper. She gave several examples of fun fingerprint characters they could create including people and animals.
Ten-year-old Kelsey Ellis participated in the activity and said that she learned that fingerprints are important.
“Because they tell who you are,” she said.
STEAM activities will take place for kids throughout the summer on Thursdays at 4 p.m. with varying topics. All are welcome.