High-Security Biometric Scanner From Fujitsu

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Fujitsu Ltd. is targeting corporate desktop computer access with new versions of its palm vein biometric scanner.

The system, which is said to offer a higher level of security than fingerprint or iris scan, has been built into a USB (Universal Serial Bus) mouse and scanner and coupled with PC authentication software so enterprise customers can deploy it without the need to add an authentication server.

The palm-vein system takes an infrared image of the user's palm. Because it is infrared, the veins inside the palm can be seen and this pattern is matched against a database as a means of verification. The system takes into account identifying features such as the number of veins, their position and the points at which they cross.

The technology, which Fujitsu brands as Palm Secure, is already in use in more than 18,000 bank ATMs in Japan but its adoption by enterprise users has been limited to a few specialist applications. Fujitsu hopes to expand the market with the new scanners and their ability to work with the OmniPass authentication system from Softex Inc.

To login to a PC with the scanner attached, users need to simply bring their hand to within a few centimeters of the scanner and hold it there for a second. That is sufficient time to scan and verify their identity.

Until now, the system has required a dedicated authentication server to take the input from the scanners and authorize users. The server has the advantage of working across the network so users don't need to register on each computer they have access to but it adds cost and complexity. The new system uses a palm vein database that is local to each machine.

The scanner will be bundled with software and sell for about %30,000 (US$265).

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