While others obsess over fingers, Fujitsu wants your palms instead. Going against the flow, it plans to employ palm-vein scanning on smartphones in the future. The company, who is one of its few, if not the only, commercial evangelists, believes the technology to be more secure and reliable than TV’s favorite metacarpal.
Being a trendsetter, Apple ushered in an age of smartphones that use biometrics, particularly fingerprints, as an optional or secondary authentication factor. Many smarpthone manufacturers are putting in their own finger print scanner on their devices. But Fujitsu, who isn’t really that big in the smartphone industry, isn’t buying this and will instead go with something it is more familiar with: palm-vein scanning.
The principle behind this relatively less-known biometric is almost the same with fingerprints. Palm patterns are just as unique as a fingerprint, but it is only one half of the equation. The other half involves vein points, which are scanned using near-infrared light and matched against previously recorded patterns and points. There is one key distinction here. Blood needs to be flowing through those veins for palms to match. No disembodied hands here for faking identities. Fujitsu boasts of a 0.0008 percent false positive and a 0.01 percent false rejection rate with this system.
This might sound even more fictitious than fingerprint scanners, but Fujitsu has already proven it to work. It has been fiddling around with palm-vein scanning technology for a long time now, placing those gadgets in laptops such as the Lifebook E741/C and the Celsius H730. Laptops such as these have been put to use by banks in Japan, Fujitsu’s home town. Now it is working on putting that same technology on mobile devices as well, particularly smartphones.
A palm scanner on a smartphone might sound ridiculous given the size of these mobile devices, but not necessarily so. Employing near-infrared light means users won’t have to lay their palms flat on something, so surface area will definitely not be an issue, unlike on fingerprint scanners. Furthermore, Fujitsu has been working on reducing the scanner size even further. The latest iteration was already as small as a postage stamp, but Fujitsu believes it can do better and hopes that they will be small enough for its smartphones in the future.