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Fujitsu: A conversation with Derek Northrope, Head of Biometrics


Fujitsu’s PalmSecure technology is a palm vein based “strong authentication” solution that utilizes industry-leading vascular pattern biometric technology. The technology offers a highly reliable, contactless, biometric authentication solution that is non-intrusive and easy to use.

PalmSecure technology has been deployed worldwide in a wide range of vertical markets, including security, finance, healthcare, commercial enterprises and educational facilities.

Additional applications include physical access control, logical access control, retail point-of-sale systems, ATMs, kiosks, time and attendance management systems, visitor ID management and other industry-specific biometric applications.

The Fujitsu PalmSecure sensor uses near-infrared light to capture a person’s palm vein pattern, generating a unique biometric template that is matched against pre-registered user palm vein patterns. The palm vein device can only recognize the pattern if the blood is actively flowing within the individual’s veins, which means that forgery is virtually impossible.

Fujitsu’s advanced, vascular pattern recognition technology arguably provides highly reliable authentication. The PalmSecure technology false accept rate is just 0.00008 percent with an exceptional false reject rate of 0.01 percent, all in a small form factor that generates extremely fast authentication, usually under one second.

To ease work flow and protect digital assets, Fujitsu also developed PalmSecure OmniPass which seamlessly works with many leading Single Sign-On (SSO) software solutions and increases security, while significantly reducing the costs associated with password management.

“One of the most important success factors in any biometric implementation, be it national security, healthcare, finance or gym entry, is as fundamental as the selection of the biometrics to use,” Derek Northrope, Head of Biometrics at Fujitsu Consulting (Canada) Inc., said in an exclusive interview with BiometricUpdate.com. “Whilst PalmSecure isn’t applicable to every situation, for example policing activities that by their very nature can only be a specific biometric, we are seeing PalmSecure starting to successfully unseat a number of more traditional biometrics across a range of domains.”

“This is due to a number of factors including the fact that it is highly accurate, is non-contact, traceless, and the dual combination of ease of use and acceptance, and that by design, templates can’t be used between systems.”

According to Northrope, the contactless nature of the technology can allow surgeons and other healthcare professionals to “swipe in” and be authenticated by the system without touching an interface and even while wearing medical gloves.  BiometricUpdate.com has already reported that the PalmSecure system has been deployed across a chain of sport clubs and that the Fujitsu PalmSecure-based PalmEntry system has been installed at educational facilities and at university computer labs.

The level of product sophistication provided by Fujitsu’s PalmSecure technology is impressive due to the firm’s continuous research and development efforts.  In the summer of 2013, Fujitsu announced that it had developed the world’s first technology for extracting and matching 2,048-bit feature codes from biometric palm vein images.

The new method employs feature codes extracted from vein images that represent the features of the images in binary format. This, in turn, allows for simple comparison calculations and quick authentication.

Recent market research indicates that Fujitsu is one of the main vendors dominating the palm sensor space, which is being driven by an increased demand for advanced security systems.  According to Research and Markets, the global market for palm vein biometrics is set to grow at a CAGR of 46.6 percent between 2012 and 2016.

While Fujitsu’s technology is mainly used by larger enterprises, BiometricUpdate.com reported earlier this month that the firm is eyeing the consumer electronics market, through implementing its embedded palm sensors in smartphones.  Previously, the firm reported that it also looking to expand the technology to tablets.

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11 Replies to “Fujitsu: A conversation with Derek Northrope, Head of Biometrics”

  1. “The PalmSecure technology false accept rate is just 0.00008 percent with an exceptional false reject rate of 0.01 percent.”

    Those are the best case error rates and are not achievable at the same time. The only publicly available DET curve shows that when the FAR is 0.00008%, the FRR is 50%. Quoting best case FAR and FRR side by side is tantamount to lying. But I’ve tried to get Fujitsu and resellers to reveal the PalmSecure DET curve for five years, to no avail. Why the secrecy? What do biometrics vendors have to hide? There is no security in obscurity.

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