Can you build the best autonomous nail-to-nail fingerprint capture device?

Thank you to all who participated in the N2N Live Test held on September 18-22, 2017. The challenge is complete.

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Develop the best autonomous nail-to-nail fingerprint capture device

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Evaluation is complete! Winners listed below.

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Win $100,000 for the best usable matching system


IARPA is conducting the Nail-to-Nail Fingerprint Challenge to invite the broader research community of industry and academia to participate in a convenient, efficient, and non-contractual way. IARPA's use of a crowdsourcing approach to stimulate breakthroughs in science and technology also supports the White House's Strategy for American Innovation, as well as government transparency and efficiency. The goals and objectives of the Challenge are to:

  • Promote and benchmark research in biometrics applied to nail to nail fingerprint scanning
  • Stimulate various communities to develop and enhance automated methods to derive accurate nail-to-nail finger print scanning comparable to existing fingerprint capture standards for accuracy, speed, and latent capture accuracy
  • Foster innovation through crowdsourcing and to remove the need for a human operator and to move beyond current research limitations for nail to nail fingerprint scanning
  • Cultivate and sustain an ongoing collaborative community dedicated to this technology and research


The Challenge will consist of three stages: Registration & Feasibility Review, Development & Judging, and The Final Live Test Event.

Stage 1: Registration and Feasibility Review
  • All challenge builders need to fill out a registration form providing information about their proposed solution in order to participate in the challenge. Applications should not be more than 2 pages and should describe the anticipated solution with as much detail as possible.
  • Register for the challenge by March 17, 2017 by visiting
  • IARPA will review all applications and provide feedback to each builder to determine how feasible each proposed solution is and to assist each applicant's success rate into reaching Stage 2.
Stage 2: Development and Judging
  • Builders will have until July 2017 to develop their solution for the N2N challenge. Builders will be asked to submit sample fingerprint imagery from 3 subjects collected from their systems along with a short video of the system as a "proof of build" and certification to attend the Test and Evaluation (T&E) event taking place in September 2017. Devices will also be evaluated for safety at this time. Winners may continue to further refine their devices prior to the live test.
  • Read about the rules and specifications for the video submission in the full rules document
Stage 3: Test, Evaluation, and Prize Awards
  • In the final stage, the government will conduct a live test where human subjects will present finger biometrics to each builderís developed system at a test facility.
  • To support testing, challenge participants are responsible for operating their own capture device during the testing, ensuring safety and Institutional Review Board (IRB) compliance of the developed system, and providing collected data in the specified format for Evaluation. Testing will include collection of baseline data using current ìgold standardî techniques for N2N, using a skilled operator, and latent fingerprints. Two baseline systems will be used to collect N2N data by the government.
  • Builders who reach this stage will get to keep any fingerprint data collected by their devices and gain an opportunity to demonstrate their devices to a number of high-level government stakeholders.
  • The devices found to have the most complete data collection will be eligible for prizes. Learn more about the Live Test Rules and Assessment Guidelines.
February 2017
Registration and
Feasibility Review
March 2017
Builders Construct Devices
July 2017
Proof of Build Submissions,
Stage 2 Evaluation
September 2017
Live Test at a
test facility
Winter 2017
Winners to be announced
in the upcoming weeks.
Stay tuned!


The top builders who complete Stage 3 will be eligible to win cash prizes from a total prize purse of $290K. Prizes will be distributed for the following criteria:

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Fastest Capture Prize Icon


Gallery Accuracy Prize Icon


Latent Accuracy Prize Icon


Print Provider Prize Icon


Master Builder Prize Icon


Please review the full N2N Challenge Prize Calculation document to learn how winners will be determined for each prize.


Read the full rules and challenge eligibility document for the N2N challenge by downloading the PDF below:

N2N Challenge Rules


Of the fifteen teams that began the N2N Challenge, eight teams that made it to the final stage. Teams' devices were judged on existing fingerprint capture standards for accuracy, speed, and latent capture accuracy. Winners include:

No winner was announced for the Grand Prize.

Gallery Accuracy Prize

  • First Place ($25,000): Green Bit
  • Second Place ($15,000): JENETRIC
  • Third Place ($10,0000: IDEMIA

Speed Prize

  • First Place ($25,000): Advanced Optical Systems, Inc.
  • Second Place ($15,000): IDEMIA
  • Third Place ($10,000): Touchless Biometric Systems AG

Latent Accuracy Prize

  • First Place ($25,000): Green Bit
  • Second Place ($15,000): JENETRIC
  • Third Place ($10,0000: IDEMIA

The data collected from the challenge will be available Summer/Fall 2018. To be notified of its release, email or go to!forum/n2n-data/join.


To assist builders in this challenge, IARPA has gathered a list of resources to prepare for each stage in the challenge. You can find a number of sample datasets, reference capture methods, evaluation guides, and technical documents to support your submissions.
Plain and Rolled Images from Paired Fingerprint Cards (500 PPI)

Provides a reference of 216 paired fingerprint cards that include all ten rolled fingerprints and the plain/flat impressions at the bottom each card

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FpVTE 2012

Provides a reference for evaluation of large 1-to-many fingerprint identification algorithms using enrollment sample sizes in the multi-millions

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FVC-onGoing is a web-based automated evaluation system for fingerprint recognition algorithms. Tests are carried out on a set of sequestered datasets and results are reported on-line by using well known performance indicators and metrics.

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Nail to Nail Fingerprint Capture Demonstration Video

Demonstrates the current standard for Nail to Nail fingerprint capture. Builders must propose and create a device that can achieve this capture output without a human operator.

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NIST Image Standards for N2N Challenge

NIST suggests a series of guidelines for lossless fingerprint compression from NIST SP 500-289

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The Surround Imager Case Study

A case study on a multi-camera touchless device to acquire 3d rolled-equivalent fingerprints

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NIST Biometric Image Software (NBIS)

Open-source software for processing and analyzing biometric data

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NIST GitHub and API Documentation

NIST's GitHub repository for any builders who want to use a custom algorithm in their device

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N2N Challenge Definitions and Terms

A selection of definitions for various terms used throughout the challenge

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Fingerprint Vendor Technology Evaluation

Provides a reference on how NIST assesses and evaluates fingerprint vendor technology, which includes specific measures for accuracy and time

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University of Notre Dame Biometrics Database Release Agreement (Point and Shoot Challenge (PaSC) data set)

Provides a reference release agreement for making collected biometrics data open to the public

Learn More
N2N Challenge Workshop Presentations

Here is a zip file containing all the slides presented during the N2N Challenge Workshop on March 21, 2018

Download Files


The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) invests in high-risk, high-payoff research programs to tackle some of the most difficult challenges of the agencies and disciplines in the Intelligence Community (IC).

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