Sci-Tech

Hitachi to expand finger scanner business

Vein patterns are more accurate than iris scans and finger prints, and they can be built into more compact systems.

What's more accurate than iris scans or finger print readers for authentication? Finger vein patterns, according to Tokyo-based Hitachi. The company announced on Tuesday that is has established a dedicated finger vein authentication business center within four subsidiaries in North America, Europe, China and Asia. Hitachi started investing in the technology back in 1997 and now expects sales to hit $875 million (100 billion yen) in the next three years, starting in April 2006.

The company currently makes a matchbox-size vein identification unit that uses near-infrared beams to scan the unique pattern of crisscrossing veins in one's fingers and then match the image with records in a database. Tests showed false rejection rates at less than 0.01 percent and a false acceptance rate of less than 0.00002 percent. Beyond ATM kiosks and PCs, Hitachi is also adapting the technology for the ignition key in cars.