The use of biometrics has grown with each successive Olympic Games. From protecting athletes at the 1984 Games, the use of hand geometry readers has been a feature of access control at Olympic Games since. By the time the 1996 Games ended, hand geometry tracked 65,000 people, providing over 1 million transactions in 28 days. That Olympics was the first wide-scale deployment of ID cards linked to hand geometry readers through radio frequencies. Each card contained a chip that stored an ID number and a digital template of the person's hand to whom the badge was issued. As a person approached high-security access points, such as those into the Olympic Village, the radio-frequency chip transmitted the image and number. A computer recorded the number so that a person's entry and exit could be tracked.
Meanwhile, the person placed her hand on a hand geometry reader that took and compared a three-dimensional geometric image of the hand with the image sent by the ID card. Access was denied unless the two matched. The entire process took only a few seconds.