Tokyo (Japan) – Hitachi has developed a finger vein biometric sensor small enough to fit on a laptop or PDA. Finger vein sensors, which some say are more accurate than traditional finger printer scanners, are undergoing testing in financial institutions in Japan. Hitachi believes that the sensors will reduce fraud.
The sensor works by creating a 3D pattern of veins from the person’s fingertip. Near infrared LEDs shine on one side of the finger, while a CCD captures the image from the other side. The resulting image is blurry, but after image processing the veins stand out. Unlike fingerprint scanners, no physical contact is needed with the sensor.
Vein patterns promise to be more accurate and less prone to countermeasures than fingerprint recognition systems. Since fingerprints are external, criminals may be able to extract information from fingerprints left on objects or even the fingerprint sensor themselves. In addition, fingerprint residue could harbor germs, which is a big issue in Japanese society which prides itself with cleanliness.
Juhachi Bank and the Japanese Post Office are expected to install the new systems in the coming year. The Japanese Post Office, unlike the US Postal Service, is a pseudo bank holding an estimated 3.3 trillion dollars in savings accounts and life insurance policies. In addition, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi will start issuing Visa credit cards with embedded integrated circuits that contain customer vein pattern information.