It’s a biometric sensor called PalmSecure that uses your palm for identification. No, it doesn’t read your lifeline like a fortune teller. Instead, the scanner actually captures an image of the veins inside your hand using “near-infrared” light (like in a remote control).
The information is then stored in a database, and a future scan only takes a second to compare the vein network to the original data.
But why use a palm instead of, say, a fingerprint?
Because fingerprints can change with time, either from aging or scar tissue. Same goes for advanced facial-recognition systems. However, our vein patterns are established before birth, so they stay consistent our entire lives. Making them the perfect identification source.
Indeed, palm vein authentication has proven more accurate than both latent prints and facial recognition technology. While past tests show that latent prints and facial recognition were inaccurate 3.8% and 0.3% of the time, respectively, only one in every 19,000 (or 0.00504%) scans using PalmSecure were off base.
It’s no wonder the technology was named one of Scientific American’s 10 “World Changing Ideas” in its December issue. Not to mention that banks in Japan have implemented the technology at ATMs and New York University’s Langone Medical Center recently began using PalmSecure to make its patient check-in process more efficient.
But after Fujitsu’s latest redesign of the technology, PalmSecure could also be defending our mobile devices in the not-so-distant future.
Same Tech, Super Slim Profile
Until now, Fujitsu’s abilities to slim down PalmSecure have been limited. Like PhysOrg says, since “a high-performance image sensor with a large optical area was required… [it] has presented challenges in terms of miniaturization.”
Besides, a smaller sensor would actually capture a different image than sensors in current palm readers. This means that palm images might need to be retaken. Not good when you’re trying to market a product that will work by taking a single image and can identify a person forever.
However, Fujitsu has developed a way around this limitation.
In short, the company incorporated a wide-angle lens and a “diffused lighting system” in order to create a more compact sensor that maintains the same field of view and image quality as the larger systems.
And since it measures just five millimeters thick, the technology could be used to beef up security for mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
But do we really need biometric sensors in our mobile gadgets? You bet!
Replacing Terrible “1234” Passwords Everywhere
Our Chief Investment strategist, Louis Basenese, has done extensive research on biometric sensor technology. He told WSD Insider subscribers a few months ago, “Mobile devices store and transmit an increasing amount of sensitive data nowadays. And consumers need assurances if the device is ever lost or stolen that their personal and corporate information won’t be compromised.”
Tack on the fact that more and more consumers are going to be using smartphones as wallets, and it’s easy to see why this technology could make it into new mobile hardware designs.
Businesses have a strong incentive to integrate the technology, too, considering that 559 data breaches occurred in the United States alone last year, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. During which time almost 11.5 million records were compromised, costing U.S. companies $204 per customer on average.
In other words, PIN codes and passwords just aren’t cutting it in the corporate world. So once biometric sensors like PalmSecure go mobile, IT departments will be thrilled. As PhysOrg says, the technology can be “useful in the business world, which in recent years has seen the explosive growth of slate PCs and tablet devices, and the subsequent need for improved security in compact devices, which has grown to an unprecedented level.”
We’ll keep an eye on any developments going forward. In the meantime, you can check out another key player in the biometric security space in the note below.
Editor’s Note: Subscribers who’ve upgraded their subscriptions to WSD Insider were clued-in to a killer play on the biometric security sector in August. Our Chief Investment Strategist, Louis Basenese, recommended the company since it’s the world’s leading provider of biometric sensors, identity management software and embedded security solutions. Shares are on the move, but it’s not too late to get in. Click here to find out how.