finger vein ID

Finger vein ID is a biometric authentication system that matches the vascular pattern in an individual's finger to previously obtained data...(continued)

Finger vein ID is a biometric authentication system that matches the vascular pattern in an individual's finger to previously obtained data. Hitachi developed and patented a finger vein ID system in 2005. The technology is currently in use or development for a wide variety of applications, including credit card authentication, automobile security, employee time and attendance tracking, computer and network authentication, end point security and ATM machines.

Here's how Hitachi's system works:
To obtain the pattern for the database record, an individual inserts a finger into an attester terminal containing a near-infared LED (light- emitting diode) light and a monochrome CCD (charge-coupled device) camera. The hemoglobin in the blood absorbs near-infared LED light, which makes the vein system appear as a dark pattern of lines. The camera records the image and the raw data is digitized, certified and sent to a database of registered images. For authentication purposes, the finger is scanned as before and the data is sent to the database of registered images for comparison. The authentication process takes less than two seconds.

Blood vessel patterns are unique to each individual, as are other biometric data such as fingerprints or the patterns of the iris. Unlike some biometric systems, blood vessel patterns are almost impossible to counterfeit because they are located beneath the skin's surface. Biometric systems based on fingerprints can be fooled with a dummy finger fitted with a copied fingerprint; voice and facial characteristic-based systems can be fooled by recordings and high-resolution images. The finger vein ID system is much harder to fool because it can only authenticate the finger of a living person.

This was first published in April 2008

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