Vein Biometrics See Beyond the Surface

Vein Biometrics See Beyond the Surface

Biometrics enjoy greater acceptance, with lower costs and more deployments. While fingerprint dominates, vascular biometrics show promise for their strong authentication. a&s looks at vascular biometrics evolving from high-security applications to mainstream deployments.

Biometrics hold the promise of positive identification. While spoofing remains an issue, biometric solutions are unmatched for identity.

Vascular biometrics use IR light to detect blood vessels, which form unique patterns invisible to the naked eye. Vein recognition overcomes the shortcomings of other biometrics, such as fake fingers, since blood flow ensures a living person is identified. Vascular recognition does not require contact, making it hygienic as well.

Vascular recognition was first adopted in Japan, as fingerprint scanning was stigmatized for its police associations. As vein prints cannot be left at a crime scene, vein recognition gained acceptance for its high security.

Store owners understand the significance of shrinkage for their bottom line. According to the Global Retail Theft Barometer 2008, shrinkage cost US $104.5 billion.

PoS solutions are seeing biometric integration, aimed at identifying workers. A palm vein solution from Find-U Technology requires employees to verify their identities before opening cash registers. It provides better protection compared to numeric codes.

The palm vein module takes 1.5 seconds to authenticate users and lets management know exactly who operated the cash register. It is suited for shopping malls, convenience stores and food services, said Find-U in a prepared statement. Different peripherals connect to displays, barcode scanners and Internet networks.

Fitness Centers
Gym memberships require paid contracts before members start pumping iron. Biometrics offer more portability and stronger authentication than cards alone.

At Club Fitness, a gym chain in St. Louis, Misssouri, several locations deploy Identica vein scanners and utilize HID cards, said Identica in a prepared statement.

"We tested a number of different biometric technologies, including fingerprint and iris readers, but only vascular readers were able to perform accurately in outdoor environments where we needed our security solution to be installed," said Rich Quin, Director of IT for Club Fitness, in a prepared statement.

"Though the prevailing thought is that our biovascular technology is only applicable to highly secure areas, like ports or casinos, we developed our vascular readers to be easy to use and eventually be deployed in high-traffic, practical areas," said Terry Wheeler, President of Identica, in a prepared statement.

Catching Cheaters
Vascular biometrics have made their way into the classroom as well. Last year, Fujitsu palm vein scanners were rolled out at 16 Pearson VUE testing centers to identify prospective business school students. Pearson administers placement tests globally.

"At Pearson VUE, we take security extremely seriously," said Robert Whelan, President of Pearson VUE, in a prepared statement. "One particularly egregious method of cheating involves a professional test taker — referred to as a ‘proxy' — taking a test for another candidate, and it is imperative that we stay at the leading edge of candidate authentication."

The palm vein scanners will be implemented at more than 400 facilities in 107 countries, Fujitsu said.

As vascular recognition diversifies from its formerly exclusive niche, it finds broader acceptance across a range of vertical segments.

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