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You’re so vein: Palm-based biometric system could help confirm your identity

Face ID. Fingerprint scanners. Voice recognition. When it comes to biometrics, there a whole lot of means for checking a person’s identity in a way that’s far more personalized than a four-digit security code or password. Now a nonprofit group called the IOTA Foundation is working with biometrics company Iampass to introduce a system that lets users verify their identity using the veins in their palm print. As it turns out, these vein patterns are just as unique as the other biometric markers that drive technologies like fingerprint or retina scanners.

“More so than any other biometric technology, palm vein authentication is highly accurate, hygienic, and designed specifically to curb impersonation, counterfeiting, and other illegal actions that may be used to access important information and secure areas,” Dominik Schiener, co-founder and co-chair of the IOTA Foundation, told Digital Trends. “[That’s especially true] since the palm veins are unable to be seen by the naked eye, and therefore much harder to replicate. Compared to fingerprints, the pattern of your palm veins are also nearly impossible to destroy, allowing people who had accidents to still access a secure system, as the unique palm vein has not changed.”

The innovative palm-reading system uses image recognition and optical technology to non-invasively scan users’ palms as a way of ensuring they are who they say they are.

Iampass is currently investigating several potential applications for its vein-based biometric system. This includes replacing access cards in secure buildings, providing access logs at data centers, and various use-cases within the automotive industry. In the case of the IOTA Foundation, it’s using palm prints as an access point to something it calls the IOTA Tangle, a next-generation distributed ledger technology that works on a principle that’s similar to blockchain.

No, palm readers are unlikely to replace Face ID on your next smartphone, but that’s not really the point. Tools like this offer additional levels of security, which can be added onto existing systems to make them even more secure. Successfully passed the facial recognition test? Next, you can check your vein print marries up to records.

This isn’t the first time we’ve covered unorthodox biometric security technologies. Other alternative body-based security systems include reading people’s “heart print,” their ear shape, and even the unique parameters of their posterior. Before long, their won’t be too many parts of the human body that can’t double up as a pass code of sorts!

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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