Hitachi Develops Outdoor Finger Vein ID System

Hitachi Ltd. said Monday it has developed a near-infrared-ray-based finger vein authentication system that can be used outdoors, even under strong sunlight.

With outdoor use, the new biometric system can be employed in automobile antitheft devices and home security systems, among others, Hitachi said. The company aims to commercialize the device in three years for use in car antitheft systems.

Hitachi already supplies banks with a biometric system that identifies a person by the vein patterns of fingers, for use in automated teller machines. But conventional models only worked indoors, as the system itself emitted near-infrared rays to scan vein patterns, resulting in unclear images if sunlight is also present.

The outdoor model is equipped with a special filter that allows through only near-infrared rays of wavelengths of 700 to 1,200 nanometers, present in sunlight, making possible the use of sunlight as a light source.

The system can be used in the shade, as well as under sunlight with a brightness of over 100,000 lux. When there is sunlight of less than 50,000 lux or at night, the system automatically emits near-infrared rays just like conventional models, Hitachi said.

The sensitivity of a camera that scans the image automatically changes in accordance with the amount of light, it said.

The system has the capacity to store data on the vein patterns of 10,000 fingers in all. Up to 10,000 people can identify themselves after registering one finger per person, or all 10 fingers can be used for 1,000 people, according to Hitachi.