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:

From the editor's desk: A sad but exciting goodbye
Technews Publishing News & Events
      Welcome to the final monthly issue of SMART Security Solutions. This is the last issue of the year and the last monthly issue we will print. We are witnessing digitisation across all industries, and ...

Gallagher Security releases Command Centre v9
Gallagher News & Events Access Control & Identity Management Integrated Solutions
Richer features, greater integrations, with the release of Gallagher Security’s Command Centre v9 security site management software designed to integrate seamlessly with various systems and hardware.

Paxton’s Net2 secures medicinal cannabis facility
Paxton Access Control & Identity Management Healthcare (Industry) Videos
Paxton’s Net2 access control has been installed at Highlands Grow, a fully licensed industrial-scale cultivator, producing cannabis for medicinal and recreational use.

Lock down your access control with Alcatraz AI
C3 Shared Services Healthcare (Industry) Access Control & Identity Management AI & Data Analytics
Alcatraz AI, represented in South Africa by C3 Shared Services, changes access control by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and analytics at the edge, where facial recognition becomes the essential credential autonomously.

All aspects of data protection
Technews Publishing Editor's Choice Information Security Infrastructure AI & Data Analytics
SMART Security Solutions spoke to Kate Mollett, Senior Director, Commvault Africa, about the company and its evolution from a backup specialist to a full data protection specialist, as well as the latest announcements from the company.

Effective access control
Flow Systems Access Control & Identity Management Products & Solutions
Flow Systems has introduced its new Extra Heavy Duty Industrial Rising Vehicle Barrier, which provides a high level of protection. It is a traditional-looking control barrier with the benefits of high-level physical protection.

Newport Aquarium replaces traditional locks and keys
Paxton Access Control & Identity Management Entertainment and Hospitality (Industry)
Newport Aquarium wanted to replace its old security system with an easy-to-use and high-security access control solution to keep the animals, visitors, and staff safe. The solution was Net2, a PC-based access control system that offers centralised administration.

Securing easy access
Suprema neaMetrics Access Control & Identity Management
Securing access to hospitals and healthcare institutions presents a unique set of challenges, because these facilities operate 24/7, have highly ‘open’ access in public areas and require a strict level of security.

Reliable mass notification
Access Control & Identity Management
The use of voice alarm and voice evacuation systems within the healthcare industry ensures a safer and more reassuring environment in the event of an emergency.

Protecting our most vulnerable
Access Control & Identity Management
In a nation grappling with the distressing rise in child kidnappings, the need for innovative solutions to protect our infants has never been more critical. South Africa finds itself in the throes of a child abduction pandemic.