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A palm print is

[a]n exemplar or latent friction ridge image from the palm (side and underside) of the hand.[1]


The palm itself consists of principal lines, wrinkles (secondary lines) and ridges. It differs from a fingerprint in that it also contains other information such as texture, indents and marks which can be used when comparing one palm to another.

A full palm print includes the area from the wrist to the tips of the fingers. A palm print can be either an online image (i.e., taken by a scanner or CCD) or offline image where the image is taken with ink and paper.

Palm print recognition inherently implements many of the same matching characteristics that have allowed fingerprint recognition to be one of the most well-known and best publicized biometrics. Both palm and finger biometrics are represented by the information presented in a friction ridge impression. This information combines ridge flow, ridge characteristics, and ridge structure of the raised portion of the epidermis. The data represented by these friction ridge impressions allows a determination that corresponding areas of friction ridge impressions either originated from the same source or could not have been made by the same source. Because fingerprints and palms have both uniqueness and permanence, they have been used for more than a century as a trusted form of identification. However, palm recognition has been slower in becoming automated due to some restraints in computing capabilities and live-scan technologies.[2]

Palm prints can be used for criminal, forensic or commercial applications.


  1. Biometrics Identity Management Agency, Biometrics Glossary, at 30 (Ver. 5) (Oct. 2010) (full-text).
  2. FBI, Biometric Center of Excellence, "Palm Print" (full-text).

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