Fujitsu has shown off PulseWallet at CES 2014, a payment system that identifies you by scanning the unique pattern of veins in your hand.
(Credit: Gray's Anatomy image public domain)
NFC is starting to take off in Australia, but already companies are starting to look for new ways to pay for stuff. Last year, a Finnish company proposed a system based on facial recognition — an idea stymied by the fact that real-time facial recognition isn't yet sophisticated enough to be reliable.
The venous plan, while a bit stranger, certainly seems to have a little more immediate potential. A partnership between Fujitsu and PulseWallet, it uses a biometric scanner to register the pattern of veins in your palm — like fingerprints, these are unique to each individual — and use that to identify yourself, and pay for goods and services.
It uses a system of biometric authentication called PalmSecure, a technology Fujitsu has been developing since at least 2005. According to Fujitsu, it has a false accept rate of 0.00008 per cent — which means that it works perfectly 99.99992 per cent of the time.
The system uses near-infrared light to capture the palmar veins. This pattern is then registered to the user, and subsequent imaging at points of sale takes less than a second each time, making for a potentially paperless, contactless, cardless — and above all, secure — transaction.
"From the very beginning, we were looking for an extremely secure and highly accurate form of strong biometric authentication technology to integrate with our solution. Customer registration has to work smoothly for all consumers and verification at POS must occur quickly," said PulseWallet CEO and co-founder Aimann Rasheed. "We evaluated other forms of biometric authentication and we were most impressed with Fujitsu's PalmSecure technology because of its speed, accuracy and flexibility."
For additional security at this point in time, a PIN — your mobile phone number — is also required.
PulseWallet is "coming soon" to the US, but Fujitsu's PalmSecure technology has been deployed for some time in Brazil, where it has been installed on 35,000 ATMs as a means to reduce fraud.
You can read more about PulseWallet on its official website.