November 17 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets Year: 2009 Rating: 2
If there’s one thing movies have shown us, it’s that identifying people through biometrics can be flawed. Blood can be faked (GATTACA), eyes can be removed for retinal scans (Demolition Man), voices can be recorded (Sneakers) and fingerprints can be used from the guard you just used the Vulcan neck-pinch on (Spaceballs).
But have you ever thought of using your veins as an identification device?
The Hitachi Vein ID bounces Infrared Light from multiple angles which is “partially absorbed by hemoglobin in the veins and the pattern is captured by a camera as a unique 3D finger vein profile.” Veins are believed to be even more unique than fingerprints — even twins have different vein patterns.
Are veins the answer to biometric data theft concerns?
The great thing about veins is that, since they are located within the body and are invisible to the naked eye, they are incredibly hard to forge. One would have to have a scan of your vein structure and build a replica, something even crazy evil scientists might have a problem with. On top of this, if someone were to chop off your finger to access your data, the blood would drain out of your finger making vein identification useless (no blood, skinny veins).
What can we expect in the future?
Reliable biometric data is hard to come by. Even the technology in mapping out faces or scanning eyes is still very rudimentary and very expensive. Vein-mapping, on the other hand, is quite cheap and can be easily mass-produced. No one can argue with cheap, reliable technology.
Vein mapping is already implemented in many ATM machines in Japan. Even a hospital in North Carolina has their own vein-mapping devices which map the entire hand, not just a finger (for added security I suppose, that’s a lot of veins). And while this technology seems strange, identification theft is rampant here in the US. Vein scanners could help a lot to put an end to identity theft.