Cross Fujitsu's palm with silver and you'll get a biometric scanner — pictured in our CeBIT 2005 gallery — that identifies people by looking at the veins in the hands.
The infrared scanner, the Contactless Palm Vein Authentication System, was on show at CeBIT on Friday. It can reads palms from a short distance with few restrictions on hand positioning within certain limits — something Fujitsu says previous scanners have struggled with.
Fujitsu explained on Friday that vein patterns are difficult to forge, and claimed that the scanner was more hygienic than other scanners because it requires no physical contact to read palms.
It works using infrared light to scan for haemoglobin, which provides oxygen to cells in the body. Reduced haemoglobin absorbs near-infrared rays, so on the image it shows up as black with the rest of the hand coloured white.
The scanner took two years to develop. Japanese biometric engineers said the hardest part was getting the scanner to read veins that constantly move and change shape. The system had a false rejection rate of one percent and a false acceptance rate of 0.5 percent when tested on 700 people aged from 10 to 70 years-old.