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Hackers attempts end in vain

26 Sep 2002

Technology developed at Fujitsu Laboratories identifies people by looking at the pattern of veins in their palms.

Fujitsu Laboratories in Japan has developed technology that can verify a person's identity by recognising the pattern of veins in their palms. In an initial test, the technology was integrated into a computer mouse and correctly identified all 700-test subjects.

"This device will be used for the biometrics authentication," Masaki Watanabe, a researcher on the Palm Vein Recognition Technology team, told Optics.org. "The mouse-typed device will be used in offices. We are also planning to integrate the technology into fixed devices for the entrance security, and into mobile systems for other applications."

Fujitsu has already developed other biometric authentication techniques that rely on fingerprints and voice recognition, but says that its vein sensor offers distinct advantages.

According to Fujitsu, palm vein patterns are advantageous because they are unique from one person to the next and, except for the size, do not change as the individual ages.

To identify a person, infrared light is shone on a person's palm. The veins just underneath the skin reflect this light in a pattern unique to the individual. A digital camera gathers the reflected light and a proprietary algorithm checks the pattern against those stored in the system. If there is a match, the person's identity is confirmed.

"We are planning to commercialize the technology after April 2003, in Japan," says Watanabe. "Regretfully, we have no plans to commercialize the technology in other countries at present." Fujitsu has yet to decide how much the optical mouse will cost consumers.

Jacqueline Hewett is news reporter on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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