Fujitsu Develops World's First Slide-Style Palm Vein Authentication Technology Available on Mobile Devices

What Is Biometric Authentication Becoming Commonplace in Recent Years?

In recent years, with the sophistication of cyber-attacks, damage from data leaks or fraud has been increasing. Entering a user ID and a password is common as a method to authenticate the identity of a user. However, it is difficult to regularly update the password and manage multiple passwords.

Given this, biometric authentication technologies using users' distinctive body characteristics are becoming commonplace recently. Above all, palm vein authentication is a technology that allows users to authenticate their identity only by placing a hand over a palm vein scanner. Even if the palm is dirty or injured, authentication is available. Also, users never have to worry about forgetting, losing, or having their passwords stolen. Fujitsu Laboratories has been a global leader in developing and deploying palm vein authentication technology.

In palm vein authentication, a wide illumination component in the optical unit is required in order to uniformly illuminate the entire palm. Moreover, if the image capture component of the optical unit is made smaller, the area that can be read on the palm veins becomes narrower, making authentication impossible because the read area in palm veins is significantly different with every capture image when registering or verifying. For these reasons, it has been difficult to achieve both miniaturization of the optical unit and accurate authentication, and as a result, installing palm vein authentication technology in small mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, has been a challenge.

Fujitsu Succeeds in Miniaturizing the Optical Unit to Develop World's First Slide-Style Palm Vein Authentication Technology

Fujitsu Laboratories has developed the world's first slide-style palm vein authentication technology. It has succeeded in miniaturizing the optical unit, allowing it to fit in the frame of the touch panel of mobile devices. Combining a slide action with an authentication algorithm allows verification just as dependable as current optical units simply by sliding one's fingers across the touch panel.

The technology developed:

1. A compound optical element that realizes both scattering and focusing of light,
Fujitsu Laboratories developed a compound optical element that utilizes optical diffraction to both scatter and focus light. The light radiated from the LED is diffracted to illuminate upwards diagonally, enabling illumination with uniform intensity over a rectangular area that is wider than the illumination component. By creating a structure in which the illumination component and the image capture component of the optical unit can be arranged in one row, Fujitsu Laboratories was able to create an 8 mm-wide unit that is small enough to fit within the narrow width of a mobile device frame.

Prototype optical unit (Left, photo: a dotted line surrounds the components; right, a schematic diagram)

2. Slide-style input and an authentication algorithm
Users slide their fingers along the guides across the touch panel of the mobile device, and as the user's palm passes over the optical unit, which continuously captures images of the palm, coordinate data is also continuously recorded concurrently. The pattern of palm veins is divided up to read the entire palm vein pattern. In addition, Fujitsu Laboratories developed a new algorithm for authenticating the divided-up palm vein patterns, verifying data using such features as image selection (false accept rate of 0.001%, and a one-retry false reject rate of 0.01%).

How the new technology is used, and how it processes information

Ensuring Secure Use of Miniaturized Mobile Devices

Using this technology, Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a unit that is small enough to fit into narrow frames of small-scale mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, which allows easy and secure usability.

Fujitsu Laboratories plans to continue refining its optical units and authentication algorithms with the goal of practical implementation of this technology during fiscal 2017. The company looks forward to expanding the use of palm vein authentication into new situations, thanks to new miniaturization techniques such as the compound optical element.