bio-, bi-, -bia, -bial, -bian, -bion, -biont, -bius, -biosis, -bium, -biotic, -biotical

(Greek: life; living, live, alive)

Don’t confuse this element with another bi- which means "two".

The most important things in life are not things.

—Anonymous
biometer
1. A device for measuring carbon dioxide given off by organisms and, hence, for determining the quantity of living matter present.
2. An instrument by which minute quantities of carbon dioxide can be measured; used in measuring the carbon dioxide given off from functioning tissue.
biometric payment
A point of sale (POS) technology which uses biometric authentication to identify the user and authorize the deduction of funds from a bank account.

Fingerprint payment, based on fingerscanning, is the most common biometric payment method. Often, the system uses two-factor authentication, in which the finger scan takes the place of the card swipe and the user types in a PIN (personal ID number) as usual.

In the United States, biometric payment has gained popularity in grocery stores, gas stations, and convenience stores. In March 2006, "Pay By Touch", the leading biometric payment provider, reported that more than two million customers had enrolled in their biometric services and that "Pay By Touch" had authenticated approximately eight billion dollars in transactions.

The system of biometric payments is controversial. Traditionally, fingerprints have been associated with law enforcement. Critics of biometric payment fear that fingerprints could be made available to government agencies or law enforcement officials.

Biometric payment service providers are quick to point out that they don't keep the customer's actual fingerprint in their databases. They keep an encrypted number derived from the finger's point-to-point measurements. It is that number which is used to verify a customer's identity, not the actual fingerprint.

In the final analysis, a biometric payment system; like any system that accesses sensitive information, is only as secure as the associated databases and transactions.

biometric verification
Any means by which a person can be uniquely identified by evaluating one or more distinguishing biological traits.

Unique identifiers include fingerprints, hand geometry, earlobe geometry, retina and iris patterns, voice waves, DNA, and signatures.

The oldest form of biometric verification is fingerprinting. Historians have found examples of thumbprints being used as a means of unique identification on clay seals in ancient China.

Biometric verification has advanced considerably with the advent of computerized databases and the digitization of analog data, allowing for almost instantaneous personal identification.

biometrician
1. Someone who specializes in the science of biometry, or biometrics, which is the study biostatistics including the calculation of the probable duration of human life.
2. A person who uses statistical techniques to analyze biological data.
biometrics
1. The science of measuring physical characteristics, to verify a person’s identity which includes voice recognition, iris and face scans, and fingerprint recognition.

This definition is a recent application from the tech world [a recently created application]. This sense of biometrics should not be confused with the much older sense, which refers to the application of statistical and mathematical methods for data analysis in the biological sciences. Also known as biometry (as shown in the next word group), this use of the term has been in the language since the early 1900s.

2. Quantification of psychopathological differences between subjects, specifically by assessing each subject across multiple dimensions. In psychiatry, those dimensions include sensation, perception, cognition, learning, psychophysiological reactions, and personality traits and characteristics.

Pointing to biometric links. More info about the science of biometrics.

Biometrics: Benefits of Biometrics in Controlling Access
A biometric tool that measures bodily features for better security.
Biometrics: Important Role in Physical Access Control
A biometric tool that is important for physical-access control.
Biometrics: Index of Units
Biometrics: Measuring Biological Traits for Security Reasons
Biometrics is used almost exclusively to measure the human-biological traits for security reasons.
Biometrics: Perspiring Fingers
New biometrics program looks for perspiration to authenticate real-living fingers.
Biometrics: Possible Problems with Biometric Systems and Smart Passports
Biometrics has perceived problems and will integrate "smart" passports.
Biometrics: Useful Terms
Biometric terms and definitions.
biometry
1. The application of statistical methods to the study of numerical data based on biological observations and phenomena.
2. The measurement of life; the calculation of the average duration and expectation of life.
3. The application of mathematics to biology; especially, the study of resemblances between living things by statistical methods.
4. In the field of life insurance, the calculation of life expectancy.
biomicrite
A limestone composed of skeletal remains in a matrix of carbonate mud.
biomicroscope
1. A microscope for examining living tissue in the body.
2. A microscope used with a slit lamp for viewing segments of the living eye.
Quiz If you would like to take a series of self-scoring quizzes over some of the words in this bio- unit, then click this Life, Live, Living Quiz link so you can check your knowledge. You may also try several additional quizzes in this listing.

Related life, live-word units: anima-; -cole; vita-; viva-.