Sony points to finger veins for gadget security

A compact, camera-based system called "Mofiria" uses a CMOS sensor to diagonally capture scattered light inside the finger veins.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
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Leslie Katz
2 min read

Sony is taking biometrics from the surface of the finger to the inside with a new vein authentication technology that could show up on mobile devices within the year.

The compact, camera-based system--called "Mofiria," though we're not sure why--uses a CMOS sensor to diagonally capture scattered light inside the finger veins. Data from the pattern is compressed, making it possible for the information to be stored on gadgets like laptops or cell phones.

Sony says vein authentication technology achieves higher accuracy and produces faster reads than other biometric authentication techniques, such as fingerprint or retinal scans. Finger vein patterns differ from person to person and finger to finger, Sony noted, and do not change over the years. Also, they're much easier to remember than passwords.

Sony claims that false rejection rate for the system is less than 0.1 percent and processing time for identification takes only about 0.015 seconds using a personal computer CPU and about 0.25 seconds using a mobile-phone CPU.

Last year, in a similar vein (sorry), Fujitsu introduced a palm-reading mouse that scans veins rather than fingertips--a method the company also claims is faster and more effective.

And Hitachi has been working on bringing its vein authentication technology to steering wheels, fitting them with a biometric reader that only starts the engine for drivers with recognizable vein patterns. The system is already used in ATMs, computers, and cardless payment systems.

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Gentlemen, start your engines--using your veins