tmd523
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 4:33 pm
mostman wrote:Hi Tiffany,
ok so what kind of materials do you think I'm going to need to perform this project "you think I sshould consentrate on one finger of both my parents my big ?? is how am I going to measure this for my independant variable thats measureing right??

What an interesting project!

You have already gotten a lot of great help from the other experts. I just wanted to address your family comparison. One question you can address is whether fingerprints are more similar among people who are more closely related. In other words, would your fingerprint patterns look more like your parents' than your aunt's or uncle's? What about unrelated people? The suggestion of comparing twin fingerprints is a good one.

To get started, you could take fingerprints from yourself and some of your family, and enlarge the images. At first, it's probably best to pick one finger (for consistency). By looking at the patterns, you can identify certain characteristics that you can compare.

I know we have some forensics experts in this forum. Perhaps they can talk about how the computer programs use fingerprint pattern characteristics to match fingerprints in a database.

Good luck!
Heather
Tiffany

HeatherL
Former Expert
Posts: 895
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:59 pm
Occupation: Professor
Hi Tiffany,

I Googled "taking fingerprints," and found this cool site that tells you how to take legible fingerprints:
http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/takingfps.html
That should get you started in terms of materials. (Basically, we're talking about an ink pad and paper.)

In terms of independent vs. dependent variables, Alison did a good job describing those for you. The independent variable changes on its own, and the dependent variable is what you expect to change in response to the independent variable. In this case, your independent variable is the degree of relatedness. Here is one site that explains how to calculate relatedness (although you may find others that are easier to understand):
http://taumoda.com/web/PD/library/kin.html

So your parents' degree of relatedness to you is r=1/2. You can calculate this value for aunts and uncles, cousins, and other family members. It would also be good to include unrelated people (r=0) in your experiment, to see if there are characteristics of fingerprints that are shared among all people.

Your dependent variables are the characteristics of the fingerprints that you describe or measure. That fingerprinting website I gave you actually gives you some places to start in terms of "scoring" (taking measurements from) fingerprints.

Good luck, and feel free to post back with more questions!

Cheers,
Heather

wildfirefox
Former Expert
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2007 3:27 pm
tmd523 wrote:ok so what kind of materials do you think I'm going to need to perform this project "you think I sshould consentrate on one finger of both my parents my big ?? is how am I going to measure this for my independant variable thats measureing right??

That was a bit confusing to know which was the expert's quote, and which was what you've wanted to ask. Try to place your commenting below the "/quote" statement next time.

Materials would be what ever can measure the finger prints. If you have a scanner, that would help greatly. If you don't have a scanner, a balloon will do just as good. A ruler that can measure distant/gap between the lines of the fingerprints. Then, there's the greatest material of all: Patience.

You can use 1 finger, 2, or even all 10 fingers. If you're going to stay with 1, why not use the largest finger, which is the thumb. Be consistent and either select only the right thumb, or the left thumb.

You're right about independent variables. Fingerprints remain the same (dependent variable). Independent variables are different thumb sizes, different genders (male and female), different backgrounds, different genetics, etc.. You chose.

Nam
Those who can see that do not exist are geniuses. Those who can see what exists are brilliant. Those cannot see what exists are ignorant.
- Lao Tsu

tmd523
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 4:33 pm
mostman wrote:Hi Tiffany,
this is great but know I don't know if I should Score the fingerprints or put them on a balloon or do both is my teacher going to think I'm a scatter brain and all over the place I'm one of those people I need it in black or white I guess Im a bit flighty help I need this project to be organised don't I ?????
I Googled "taking fingerprints," and found this cool site that tells you how to take legible fingerprints:
http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/takingfps.html
That should get you started in terms of materials. (Basically, we're talking about an ink pad and paper.)

In terms of independent vs. dependent variables, Alison did a good job describing those for you. The independent variable changes on its own, and the dependent variable is what you expect to change in response to the independent variable. In this case, your independent variable is the degree of relatedness. Here is one site that explains how to calculate relatedness (although you may find others that are easier to understand):
http://taumoda.com/web/PD/library/kin.html

So your parents' degree of relatedness to you is r=1/2. You can calculate this value for aunts and uncles, cousins, and other family members. It would also be good to include unrelated people (r=0) in your experiment, to see if there are characteristics of fingerprints that are shared among all people.

Your dependent variables are the characteristics of the fingerprints that you describe or measure. That fingerprinting website I gave you actually gives you some places to start in terms of "scoring" (taking measurements from) fingerprints.

Good luck, and feel free to post back with more questions!

Cheers,
Heather
Tiffany

HeatherL
Former Expert
Posts: 895
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:59 pm
Occupation: Professor
this is great but know I don't know if I should Score the fingerprints or put them on a balloon or do both is my teacher going to think I'm a scatter brain and all over the place I'm one of those people I need it in black or white I guess Im a bit flighty help I need this project to be organised don't I ?????

Hi Tiffany,

As Nam pointed out, it would help if you put your questions after the quoted text, so everyone can tell what the Expert wrote, and what you want to know.

That said, you have to figure out what works best for you. I gave you a good site that talks about taking fingerprints, but there were several other sites that came up in Google during my search. It looks like you should do a little research to determine what will be the best method for you. Using a scanner or a balloon helps you to enlarge the fingerprints so you can score them. Alternatively, you can use ink and paper, and then use a copy machine to enlarge the prints. Which method you choose is really up to you.

One thing that might have confused you is the idea of scoring the prints. Take a look at the site I gave you. Basically, "scoring" means taking measurements. You can do this "qualitatively" (without numbers), by describing the shape of the patterns (e.g., loop, whorl, or arch); and you can also do this "quantitatively" (with numbers) by measuring the distances (e.g., the distance between the core and the delta).

In order to score the prints, you need to enlarge them for easier measurements. That's where the scanner or balloon or ink-and-paper method will come into play.

I hope this clears things up.

Cheers,
Heather

geoffbruton
Former Expert
Posts: 123
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 10:02 am
Hi Tiffany,

Hopefully all of this information is helping you formulate your hypothesis and decide upon your experimental design!

I would just add that actually *comparing* the fine detail within fingerprints is pretty hard - it can take fingerprint examiners quite a long time to learn the skills necessary to identify or eliminate someone based upon a comparison of their fingerprints, especially if they are similar. So, please don't feel as though you *have* to do this as a part of your science fair project.

The principle of fingerprint identification is based upon the premise that the friction ridge detail on your hands (and feet!) is unique. It should be relatively easy to show evidence in support of this (based on your research and the practical aspect of your project), but without the necessary training, I wouldn't want you to feel too swamped with trying to do a lot of intercomparison.

It might be best to stick with comparing the overall patterns of fingerprints within families, just making sure to try and study as many families as you can.

As has already been suggested, you can either decide to compare a single fingerprint (e.g. right thumb) within the groups, *or* you could intercompare the patterns present on all fingers. The way in which you may want to measure this is up to you, but I would perhaps stay away from taking physical measurements from within each 'print.

For example (and I am really intrigued to check with my family!), the fingerprint patterns on my fingers (with 1 = thumb and 5 = little finger) are:

Left hand: 1, arch; 2, arch; 3, arch; 4, loop; 5, whorl.
Right hand: 1, arch; 2, arch; 3, arch; 4, arch; 5, loop.

Now, based on that information, I would now want to check to see a) what patterns are present on other blood-related family members, and b) are the positions of the patterns relevant?

The ink / pad method is a very efficient way of recording (and storing) fingerprints. An intercomparison for pattern-types can be done with the naked eye, but a magnifying glass may help. This could easily be incorporated into your display at the end of your project! Just be sure to record the mother / father / children on each of the cards you use, and to make sure that they are labeled in such a way that you don't mix them up. I would hate for you to record a lot of data and then not be able to do anything with it!

[BTW, in answer to an earlier question as to how the fingerprint databases work, here's what I understand from some of my colleagues: First of all, fingerprint identification is broken down into three levels of detail. The first level is the pattern type - arch, whorl, loop. Second level detail incorporates the "minutiae" - the ridge endings, dots, bifurcations, etc. Tertiary level detail involves the examination of the pores present within the ridge detail. The databases currently only use the first two levels of detail - poroscopy is not included.

The latent fingerprint is examined and both the type of pattern and the relative spatial orientation and positions of the fine detail (ridge endings, etc.) are entered into the database. (This is essentially done by mapping the print.) The search algorithm then filters the results based upon discernible pattern type and ranks the correlation results based upon the degree of similarity in the types and positions of the second level detail.

Ultimately, the actual comparison is performed by a qualified latent print examiner before the determination is made. Sadly, all of those movies and TV shows that have a computer screen blaring "MATCH!" are pure fiction.]

Hope this helps, and good luck!
Geoff.
Geoff Bruton
Firearm & Toolmark Section
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Forensic Sciences Laboratory

tmd523
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 4:33 pm

### HI MY NEXT QUESTION IS ? MY INDEPENDANT VARIABLE IS DIFFEREN

geoffbruton wrote:Hi Tiffany,

Hopefully all of this information is helping you formulate your hypothesis and decide upon your experimental design!

I would just add that actually *comparing* the fine detail within fingerprints is pretty hard - it can take fingerprint examiners quite a long time to learn the skills necessary to identify or eliminate someone based upon a comparison of their fingerprints, especially if they are similar. So, please don't feel as though you *have* to do this as a part of your science fair project.

The principle of fingerprint identification is based upon the premise that the friction ridge detail on your hands (and feet!) is unique. It should be relatively easy to show evidence in support of this (based on your research and the practical aspect of your project), but without the necessary training, I wouldn't want you to feel too swamped with trying to do a lot of intercomparison.

It might be best to stick with comparing the overall patterns of fingerprints within families, just making sure to try and study as many families as you can.

As has already been suggested, you can either decide to compare a single fingerprint (e.g. right thumb) within the groups, *or* you could intercompare the patterns present on all fingers. The way in which you may want to measure this is up to you, but I would perhaps stay away from taking physical measurements from within each 'print.

For example (and I am really intrigued to check with my family!), the fingerprint patterns on my fingers (with 1 = thumb and 5 = little finger) are:

Left hand: 1, arch; 2, arch; 3, arch; 4, loop; 5, whorl.
Right hand: 1, arch; 2, arch; 3, arch; 4, arch; 5, loop.

Now, based on that information, I would now want to check to see a) what patterns are present on other blood-related family members, and b) are the positions of the patterns relevant?

The ink / pad method is a very efficient way of recording (and storing) fingerprints. An intercomparison for pattern-types can be done with the naked eye, but a magnifying glass may help. This could easily be incorporated into your display at the end of your project! Just be sure to record the mother / father / children on each of the cards you use, and to make sure that they are labeled in such a way that you don't mix them up. I would hate for you to record a lot of data and then not be able to do anything with it!

[BTW, in answer to an earlier question as to how the fingerprint databases work, here's what I understand from some of my colleagues: First of all, fingerprint identification is broken down into three levels of detail. The first level is the pattern type - arch, whorl, loop. Second level detail incorporates the "minutiae" - the ridge endings, dots, bifurcations, etc. Tertiary level detail involves the examination of the pores present within the ridge detail. The databases currently only use the first two levels of detail - poroscopy is not included.

The latent fingerprint is examined and both the type of pattern and the relative spatial orientation and positions of the fine detail (ridge endings, etc.) are entered into the database. (This is essentially done by mapping the print.) The search algorithm then filters the results based upon discernible pattern type and ranks the correlation results based upon the degree of similarity in the types and positions of the second level detail.

Ultimately, the actual comparison is performed by a qualified latent print examiner before the determination is made. Sadly, all of those movies and TV shows that have a computer screen blaring "MATCH!" are pure fiction.]

Hope this helps, and good luck!
Geoff.
Tiffany

Former Expert
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2007 5:06 pm
Occupation: science journalist

### Re: who has the closest fingerprints to mine my mother, father,

Hi Tiffany,

I just came across something that reminded me of your project that might be helpful for background info.

It's a brief in a new magazine called Science Illustrated, it says: Italian researchers have reconstructed a fingerprint from Leonardo da Vinci's left index finger. The pattern of inches on the print suggests that da Vinci may have had Arabic ancestry--lending support to a theory that his mother was a slave from the Middle East.

There's no more info, but I thought you might want to do some Googling and use it as background info for your project.

Amber
Amber Dance
Science Buddy

EllieM
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:22 pm
Occupation: student

### Re: ? has the closes fingerprints to mine my mother or father

tmd523 wrote:That sight was very helpful as to the experiement but I'm very confused as to what the variables should be I need to figure then out before I do the experiment but I did like the information on that site what should I do for a variable the inndependant is the question I ve asked to begin with right then the variable should be me enlarging them is that going to count as measuring I need to measure with this science project I'm just not sure what to measure any ideas how to make my board look like a million dollars ? I need to get a good grade it's not like I'm not trying this is hard but challenging which is good Thanks Susan any ideas will be greatly appreciated Thanks Tiffany

HeatherL
Former Expert
Posts: 895
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:59 pm
Occupation: Professor

### Re: who has the closest fingerprints to mine my mother, father,

That sight was very helpful as to the experiement but I'm very confused as to what the variables should be I need to figure then out before I do the experiment but I did like the information on that site what should I do for a variable the inndependant is the question I ve asked to begin with right then the variable should be me enlarging them is that going to count as measuring I need to measure with this science project I'm just not sure what to measure any ideas how to make my board look like a million dollars ? I need to get a good grade it's not like I'm not trying this is hard but challenging which is good Thanks Susan any ideas will be greatly appreciated Thanks Tiffany

Hi Tiffany,

To recap with respect to your independent and dependent variables, your INDEPENDENT variable is the degree to which the people in your study are related. For example, your relatedness to your parents is 1/2. To help you calculate relatedness, check out the diagrams under "Relatedness Among Diploid Animals" on this web page: http://www.sparknotes.com/biology/anima ... ion3.rhtml. Your DEPENDENT variable is what you expect to change in response to the independent variable; in your case, you have several dependent variables: the different fingerprint patterns you measured. You can pick a few of the types of fingerprint patterns on one finger (e.g., index finger), and see how different they are among your different people.

To make your board "look like a million dollars," you can have a few key photos and some diagrams. For example, you can make a relatedness diagram (similar to the ones on the web page I gave you), and include photographs of the fingerprint patterns for each person along the diagram. That will allow your audience (the judges) to see the patterns you observed, in relation to how closely related your subjects are. In terms of graphs, you can use your calculated degree of relatedness (e.g., 1/2, 1/4, etc.) as your independent variable - on the x axis - and then graph the incidence of particular patterns on the y axis (as either a scatterplot or a bar graph).

I hope this helps, but please feel free to post again with more questions!

Cheers,
Heather