The fingerprinting activities used in the game fall under the field of forensic science, or simply forensics. It is the application of a broad spectrum of sciences often in service to the legal system. Fingerprinting and crime scenece forensics have a long history together.
Here's how fingerprinting works. A fingerprint is an impression made by the ridges on the parts of the finger. These ridges are a raised portion of the epidermis (skin) on the palmar (palm) or digits (fingers & toes) or plantar (sole) skin. The impressions left by these ridges are the result of natural secretions of sweat, or made by ink or other substances that can be transferred to ridges to a relatively smooth surface. Everyone’s fingerprints are unique to that person. Fingerprint records normally contain impressions of all fingers and thumbs.
There are three distinct types of fingerprints: patent, plastic and latent prints. Patent prints are visible prints when a foreign substance on the skin of a finger comes in contact with a smooth surface. Plastic prints are when a finger touches a soft, malleable surface leaving an impression. Latent prints are fingerprint impressions secreted from the skin to a surface and are usually not visible to the naked eye.
Fingerprinting is often used for biometric identification in criminal investigations. Biometrics is the methods for recognizing unique qualities in a person based on one or more intrinsic physical or behavioral traits. These may include measuring and analyzing body characteristics such as DNA, fingerprints, eye retinas and irises, voice and facial patterns.
Fingerprinting has been used for over two thousand years as a means of identification. Over time the fingerprinting processes have become more sophisticated, and have commercial, personal and legal uses today.