The NIST Fingerprint Image Quality (NFIQ) algorithm is a standard method to assess fingerprint image quality. The NFIQ algorithm was designed to be predictive of the performance of minutiae matchers.The performance of biometric systems is dependent on the quality of the acquired input samples. If quality can be improved, either by sensor design, by user interface design, or by standards compliance, better performance can be realized. For those aspects of quality that cannot be designed-in, an ability to analyze the quality of a live sample is needed. This is useful primarily in initiating the reacquisition from a user, but also for the real-time selection of the best sample, and the selective invocation of different processing methods. It is the key component in quality assurance management, and because quality algorithms often embed the same image (or signal) analyses needed to assess conformance to underlying data interchange standards, they can be used in automated image screening applications.

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