Fujitsu improves its palm vein sensor technology

Fujitsu shrinks its palm vein pattern recognition technology with a view to more applications.

Fujitsu and its research arm, Fujitsu Laboratories, have developed a smaller version of their palm vein pattern authentication system that Fujitsu plans to put on sale in Japan before the end of March, the company said Monday.

The authentication technology, which is being used by several Japanese banks for customer authentication at ATMs (automated teller machines), verifies a person's identity by recognizing the pattern of veins in the palm when held over a sensor. The pattern, which is preregistered in a database, is used by banks to authenticate the customer's identity instead of a PIN (personal identification number), or together with a PIN, according to Fujitsu.

The current sensor is usually placed on the ATM beside the input screen, and measures 7 centimeters by 7 cm. The newly-developed sensor measures 3 cm by 3 cm, according to Fujitsu.

Because of the new sensor's smaller size, it can be embedded in ATMs at banks and in smaller versions found at convenience stores where many people in Japan fetch cash. The new sensors can also be embedded in other devices, according to Fujitsu spokeswoman Amy Ishida.

As with the current system, the new version will falsely accept an unauthorized user about 0.00008 percent of the time. The current system can authenticate a vein pattern in less than a second, while the new system can do the same task in about half a second, according to the company.

The vein pattern recognition technology is more hygienic than fingerprint biometric verification systems that require physical contact between the finger and pad, Fujitsu said.

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, which is Japan's third largest bank, and Suruga Bank already use the current system on ATMs in some of their branches. Four local Japanese banks also plan to start using the current system during the next six months, the company said.

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Paul Kallender

IDG News Service
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