SAS Lab experimenting with palm scanning to improve travel process

August 10, 2016 - 

SAS Lab, the innovation hub from the Scandinavian airline, is developing various biometric identification technologies to improve the overall travel process, according to a report by TNooz.

The innovation hub believes that palm scanning will likely be the most reliable of all the biometric technologies available on the market because other technologies are either susceptible to forgery or uncomfortable for passengers to use on a regular basis.

“Overall, I’ve been a little bit concerned over biometrics – the problem is what happens once that biometric information is taken. A fingerprint can be duplicated. It’s not as secure,” Massimo Pascotto, head of SAS Lab.

Palm scanners examine blood vessels in the palm of an individual’s hand — an incredibly complex and unique signature that can only be confirmed by algorithms, making it difficult to forge.

“You have to scan the palm, and it creates a template, reading the constraints, and transfers this information to an identity token,” said Pascotto. “The next time that you scan, if the token is not identical the algorithm will determine whether it’s you. If the scanner receives exactly the same template it will refuse.

“Also, it is contactless. We used to have the fingerprint technology four of five years ago. One of the problems is that it’s not that reliable. It’s now better, but you’re forcing passengers to touch a reader.”

Pascotto believes that palm scanning offers several advantage to passengers, including its high level of security and the speed of processing travelers through an airport’s access points.

And although he seems confident that the technology will eventually become ubiquitous at airports in the future, Pascotto says palm scanning is hindered by the great deal of skepticism from users as well as system integration challenges due to data not being readily exchanged throughout the travel process.

Beyond palm prints, SAS Lab is also experimenting with other contactless proximity identification, including a trial involving wearable rings with embedded chips.

The airline currently allows passengers to use mobile NFC scanners to access lounges and recently launched a Samsung Gear S2 app which uses its new Smart Pass with NFC technology to gain access to the lounge and at the gate.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.