Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. today announced the development of highly precise biometric authentication (*1) technology that can verify a person’s identity by recognizing the pattern of blood veins in the person’s palm. Fujitsu confirmed the accuracy of the new technology in a test involving 700 subjects, all of whom were correctly identified. To show how this technology can be applied, Fujitsu has also developed a computer mouse (*2) incorporating this authentication technology.
The use of this technology would enable convenient biometric authentication for a wide range of applications, such as safeguarding important information through log-in verification for access to sales, technical or personal data.
Details of the technology will be presented at the Public Solutions Seminar sponsored by Fujitsu on September 4, 2002 in Tokyo.
The growth of electronic commerce and government services has made it more important than ever to be able to verify individual identity in official or commercial transactions. This has sparked demand for biometric authentication methods that cannot be easily replicated or forged.
Fujitsu has already developed authentication technologies employing fingerprint, voiceprint, facial features, and other types of biometrics, and it has been offering “multi-bio” authentication systems that combine different biometric readings. Each method has certain advantages as well as limitations. In order to expand the range of biometric security solutions, Fujitsu sought to develop another type of biometric authentication technology with distinctive advantages from those using voiceprints or fingerprints.
About the Technology
Fujitsu’s new technology, which it has incorporated into a prototype computer mouse, identifies an individual by the unique pattern of veins in the individual’s palm. Palm vein patterns are advantageous for this purpose because they are unique from one person to the next and, except for the size, they do not change as the individual ages.
Prototype vein pattern-recognition
The authentication process works as follows: The palm is first illuminated by an infra-red light. The veins just beneath the skin of the palm then emit a black reflection, giving a picture of the veins in the palm. Using a proprietary Fujitsu algorithm, a pattern is then extracted from this picture and is checked against patterns stored in the system. If there is a match, the person’s identity is confirmed.
In an experiment, carried out by Fujitsu, the vein patterns of about 700 people were stored in a database system, and all were subsequently identified correctly on an individual basis. Fujitsu is confident that it can achieve an equal error rate (*3) of 0.5% or less.
Building the palm vein pattern authentication technology into a computer mouse adds security functionality without interfering with normal operations. The technology can also be built into wall-plates or mobile readers for other applications.
*1. Biometric authentication
A technology for recognizing an individual based on physiological or behavioral characteristic to confirm that person’s identity.
*2. Palm vein pattern-recognition biometric computer mouse
In addition to the usual mouse functionality, this prototype device includes a digital camera element and infra-red emitter, which are used together to read the pattern of veins in a palm that is in contact with the mouse. The light output from the infrared emitter is within appropriate safety limits.
*3. Equal error rate
The equal error rate is the probability that the probability of the rejection of the properly registered individuals and the probability of the false authentication of non-registered individuals are the same. This rate simply evaluates the performance of the biometric technique.