Fujitsu sees biometric future in palms

Never mind fingerprints and iris recognition. This scanner identifies people via the veins in their hand. . Photos: Fujitsu's palm scanner

HANNOVER, Germany--Cross Fujitsu's palm with silver, and you'll get a biometric scanner that identifies people by looking at the veins in the hands.

The infrared scanner, the Contactless Palm Vein Authentication System, was on display at the CeBit trade show here Friday. It can read palms from a short distance with few restrictions on hand positioning, within certain limits--something Fujitsu says previous scanners have struggled with.

Fujitsu explained that vein patterns are difficult to forge, and it claimed that the scanner was more hygienic than other scanners because it requires no physical contact to read palms.

It works using infrared light to scan for hemoglobin, which provides oxygen to cells in the body, the company said. Reduced hemoglobin absorbs near-infrared rays, so on the image it shows up as black, with the rest of the hand colored white.

The scanner took two years to develop. Japanese biometric engineers said the hardest part was getting the scanner to read veins that constantly move and change shape. The system had a false rejection rate of 1 percent and a false acceptance rate of 0.5 percent when tested on 700 people aged from 10 years old to 70 years old.

Dan Ilett of ZDNet UK reported from Hannover.