Access control in the palm of your hand

Access & Identity Management Handbook 2021 Access Control & Identity Management

Palm vein technology exploits the fact that each one of us has a unique pattern of blood vessels in the palm of our hand that is more complex than our fingerprint and never changes throughout life.

“Veins take oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart and this blood shows as black in near-infrared light. During the capture process, the palm is held a few centimetres above the scanner, which shines a near-infrared ray of light onto the user’s palm. The still image captured in the near-infrared range by the palm vein technology camera appears as a black network, reflecting the palm’s vein pattern against the lighter background of the palm,” says Dave Crawshay-Hall, chief technology officer for Fulcrum Biometrics Southern Africa.

“As veins are internal and have a wealth of differentiating features, attempts to forge an identity when using this technology are extremely difficult, thereby enabling a high level of security. Furthermore, the palm vein readers encapsulate the actual blood flow, which is as good as capturing the liveliness of the user. Even if the pattern is disclosed, fooling the scanner without blood flowing through the veins is almost impossible,” he adds.

Crawshay-Hall says that palm vein technology is extremely accurate, with an impressive false acceptance rate tested at 0,00008% and false rejections of just 0,01%. “This makes the technology similarly reliable to iris pattern scanning technology and more reliable than fingerprint scanning technology.” The speed at which a scan takes place is rapid, with a similarly notable authentication time of less than one second.

Since palm vein is a mature technology, there are many off-the-shelf products available on the market, so rapid deployment of the technology into many applications is generally a relatively painless process.

“This technology is very versatile and lends itself well to many applications, but because of the limited number of vendors offering this technology, the solutions tend to be proprietary and have a relatively high cost, which may be seen as a barrier to entry in certain markets. However, given the extreme accuracy it provides and its anti-spoofing measures, it would certainly benefit organisations for which other identification methods are not suitable,” says Crawshay-Hall.

Since vein pattern recognition is not impacted by dirt on the surface of the skin, by cuts, bruises, scars, or even moisture or dryness of the fingertips or the palm, it can be deployed for a range of applications in different industries, and this is especially appropriate to countries where a large percentage of the workforce use their hands, as in southern Africa.

Crawshay-Hall says that in terms of reliability, fingerprints and facial features may vary over time, whereas the palm vein pattern remains the same throughout a person’s lifetime. “This is particularly useful, since the user won’t be required to re-enrol at any stage. Additionally, instances of the palm vein structure getting damaged are extremely rare.”

While first-generation palm vein sensors were sensitive to palm placement and ambient light – which often necessitated the use of a hand guide – modern sensors are 50% smaller, have improved capture and authentication capabilities, and also have the ability to capture even a slowly moving palm. Changes to environmental tolerances also enable the sensor to operate in higher ambient sunlight and temperature conditions.

“Palm vein recognition systems are designed to withstand tough conditions and are resilient to dirt, dust, grease or moisture and require no physical contact with the surface of the sensor, thus making them a suitable alternative to facial recognition biometric technology in the COVID-19 era and beyond,” says Crawshay-Hall.


Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Retail solutions beyond security
Issue 8 2020, Axis Communications SA, Technews Publishing, Hikvision South Africa , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
The need for security technology to deliver more than videos of people falling or stealing from retail stores is greater than ever.

Suprema ranks first in survey
Issue 2 2021, Suprema, neaMetrics , News, Access Control & Identity Management
In a recent survey conducted in Korea, Suprema was chosen as the top brand for access control management software and mobile access solutions.

Suprema integrated with Nedap
Issue 2 2021, Suprema , Access Control & Identity Management, News
Suprema recently announced that it has integrated its latest facial recognition devices into Nedap's access control system, AEOS, to enable organisations to manage their access control by making use of Suprema’s latest facial recognition technology.

Single bollard stops and destroys simulated bomb truck
Issue 2 2021 , Access Control & Identity Management
Delta Scientific announced the successful testing of its Model DSC635, a single shallow foundation bollard design that stops and destroys a 6804 kg test truck with less than 0.6 m of static penetration and 1.87 m of dynamic penetration.

From the editor's desk: Maybe security should STTFS
Issue 2 2021, Technews Publishing , News
The IT industry has an acronym, RTFM, Read the Manual; you’ll notice I left the F out. The same can be said for the security industry, but a recent experience has shown me that both industries, even as ...

Size of OSDP-verified list is underappreciated
Issue 2 2021 , Access Control & Identity Management
Farpointe Data announced that, at first glance, it appears that there are just 25 devices from seven different vendors listed as OSDP Verified. Although that doesn't seem like a lot, it really is.

Mail.Ru selects HID Global
Issue 2 2021, HID Global , Access Control & Identity Management
HID Global announced that Mail.Ru has chosen its HID Mobile Access solution for secure and convenient access control using smartphones and other mobile devices.

Dealing with farm attacks
Issue 2 2021, Technews Publishing , Editor's Choice, Integrated Solutions, Security Services & Risk Management, Agriculture (Industry)
Brutal farm attacks are unfortunately a common event in South Africa. Laurence Palmer suggests a proactive, community-based approach as the optimal way to prevent these heinous crimes from happening in the first place.

Paxton hires top talent in South Africa
Issue 1 2021, Paxton , News, Access Control & Identity Management
The international access control and video surveillance manufacturer, Paxton, announced it will continue to invest in new talent to accelerate expansion into the South African market.

Gallagher achieves UK cybersecurity standard
Issue 1 2021, Gallagher , Access Control & Identity Management, Cyber Security, Government and Parastatal (Industry)
The Gallagher UK CPNI CAPSS High Security System features compliances to the Cyber Assurance for Physical Security Systems (CAPSS) standard, and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) Readers and Tokens standards.