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In the biometric process of fingerscanning, a bifurcation is a point in a finger image at which two ridges meet. Bifurcations have the appearance of branch points between curved lines. The number and locations of the bifurcations and ridge endings, known as minutiae, vary from finger to finger in any particular person, and from person to person for any particular finger (for example, the ring finger on the right hand). When a set of finger images is obtained from an individual, the number of minutiae is recorded for each finger. The precise locations of the minutiae are also recorded, in the form of numerical coordinates, for each finger. The result is a function that can be entered and stored in a computer database. A computer can rapidly compare this function with that of anyone else in the world whose finger image has been scanned.
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