Softbank enables vein authentication using a smartphone camera

first_imgThe main option taken to secure a smartphone from misuse is locking the screen with some form of code. But ultimately such codes can be cracked, and a more secure alternative is desirable. Japanese mobile network Softbank Mobile believes it has a better solution that relies on using your smartphone’s camera and your veins.Last year Fujitsu developed the world’s smallest vein authentication sensor, measuring just 29 x 29 x 11mm. That made it a great solution for laptops and even something like an external hard drive, but still way too big for inclusion in a smartphone.Vein authentication offers great security as each person’s hand veins form a unique pattern which can’t be easily copied. Adding such a sensor to a phone would greatly improve security, so Softbank got together with Universal Robot Co. Ltd. and figured out a way to add the functionality to a handset without requiring the actual sensor.The solution comes in the form of software combined with the camera all smartphones ship with. The software is able to use the camera to detect veins in visible light, thus extracting the necessary pattern without special hardware. However, because it uses the camera, the software can also double up on security by checking a person’s palm pattern at the same time.Such security is sure to be a hit with business users, but works for everyone who owns a smartphone because it only relies on the camera and the required app being installed. With that in mind, Softbank is going to offer the app to customers before 2012 is over.What remains unclear is if the app will be limited to Softbank phones or offered to everyone through the relevant app stores. I’m hoping for the latter so everyone can better protect their phone easily.via Tech-On!last_img read more