The Fingerprint Game

A biometric competition at the re:publica 2014

Tasks: Concept development, coding, physical computing, case building, implementation


Today we scan our fingerprints for a lot of everyday applications: Computers and smartphones are locked with them, we pay with them in holiday parks and supermarkets, we open our car with them, they are stored inside our IDs... But how easily do we scan our fingerprints when we can win something?
The Fingerprint Game is a biometric competition game. The players have to collect fingerprints from other people by scanning them at the game terminal. For each successfully scanned fingerprint the player receives one point. Everyone whose fingerprint got scanned gets an own game profile and can start collecting fingerprints himself. The winner is who collected the most fingerprints within a certain time. He will receive a prize.
As part of a study project at University of Applied Sciences Potsdam led by Prof. Monika Hoinkis, this game was especially designed for the re:publica 2014, one of the most important conferences on issues of internet and social media. The motto of the re:publica 2014 was "Into The Wild" – a call to the online community for finding new ways of online communication and interaction after the unveilings of the NSA's espionage activities. The Fingerprint Game was available to all visitors of the re:publica 2014. Its aim was not to advertise biometric technologies but to polarize and start discussions among the visitors. Fingerprints are more and more being used in everyday applications. So with this work I conducted an experiment with the central question how generously people will scan their fingerprints if they can win something by doing so.
Beside the re:publica The Fingerprint Game was exhibited at Ver.di congress Arbeitswelt, Selbstbestimmung und Demokratie im digitalen Zeitalter in september 2014 at Ver.di central in Berlin and at the exhibition Eingabe Ausgabe in january 2015 at the Digital Art Museum Berlin. The complete documentation is available on tumblr.
Sven Gutjahr, a Berlin based visual artist, made the beautiful video clip above which shows all works from the course at the re:publica.