Tapping Into A New Vein On Biometrics :: Symblogogy
Edmund Jenks | February 8, 2009 at 09:22 pmby
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The vein patterns of each finger are unique, so each individual can register multiple fingers as "back-up" for authentication purposes. Registration is possible even for sweaty, oily or dirty fingers. Image Credit: HANDS in the NEWS
Tapping Into A New Vein On Biometrics
The growth in world of biometric authentication for access and security has been a slow and sometimes uncomfortable process. Most people do not feel happy about standing in front of a camera-like device, adjusting their position so that the device can take an image of the iris pattern of their eye for example … the process is invasive and cumbersome at best.
Fingerprint senseing technology has come a long way with its swipe and go approach … but, again, this process has the problem of a CSI routine in that fingerprints and their databases are used in the legal/criminal as a main marker for identification – the process just doesn’t feel right and it too is somewhat invasive.
Great strides have been made in the arena of using near-infrared light lights and filters to discern blood vessel vein patterns under the skin … a marker all humans share and (the patterns as to how they are located in the body) are about as different and unique as a fingerprint.
The first systems to use this approach were pioneered in Korea (BK Systems) and looked at the backside of a whole hand. This process was very good and fast – less than a half a second for authentication. The equipment, however, was large and expensive.
As with all things technological, efficiencies make processes smaller and more effective. Hitachi is the leader in downsizing the vein identification process to a simple single finger scan for authentication and it has been widely accepted as a standard for use with banking applications in Japan.
As near infrared light generated by Bank of LEDs (light emitting diodes) penetrates the body tissue, it is reflected in the hemoglobin in the blood. A CCD (charge coupled device) camera (which uses a small, rectangular piece of silicon to receive incoming light) captures the image of the vein pattern through this reflected light. Image processing constructs a finger vein pattern from the camera image. This pattern is compressed and digitized so that it can be registered as a template or digitized image that it compares to the stored template of the user, and determines whether there is a match, using patter-matching techniques. The actual algorithms used in the process differ from vendor to vendor. Image Credit: HANDS in the NEWS
This excerpted and edited from Times Online -
Why veins could replace fingerprints and retinas as most secure form of ID
Mike Harvey, Technology Correspondent – Times Online, Nov. 11, 2008
Forget fingerprinting. Companies in Europe have begun to roll out an advanced biometric system from Japan that identifies people from the unique patterns of veins inside their fingers.
Finger vein authentication, introduced widely by Japanese banks in the last two years, is claimed to be the fastest and most secure biometric method. Developed by Hitachi, it verifies a person's identity based on the lattice work of minute blood vessels under the skin.
In Japan, thousands of cash machines are operated by finger vein technology.
Hitachi's VeinID Biometric Authentication technology is one of the most advanced biometric identification technologies. Hitachi's Finger Vein attesting technology identifies finger vein patterns that exist inside the human body, eliminating tampering while increasing reliability and security and, as everyone's finger vein pattern is individual, it provides an ideal identification method without being intrusive. Image Credit: HANDS in the NEWS
The pattern of blood vessels is captured by transmitting near-infrared light at different angles through the finger, usually the middle finger. This can be done in a small instrument attached to a wall or as part of an ATM machine. The light is partially absorbed by hemoglobin in the veins and the pattern is captured by a camera as a unique 3D finger vein profile. This is turned into a simple digital code which is then matched with a pre-registered profile to verify an individual's identity. Even twins are said to have different finger vein patterns.
Hitachi claims that because the veins are inside the body, invisible to the eye, it is extremely difficult to forge and impossible to manipulate. While fingerprints can be "lifted" and retinas scanned without an individual realizing it, it is extremely unlikely that people's finger vein profiles can be taken without them being aware of it, the company says.
The gruesome possibility that criminals may hack off a finger has already been discounted by Hitachi's scientists. Asked if authentication could be "forged" with a severed finger, the company says: "As blood would flow out of a disconnected finger, authentication would no longer be possible."
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