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EPFL, Global ID developing 3D finger vein recognition system


EPFL’s Security and Cryptography Laboratory has partnered with startup Global ID to develop an encryption technique for processing biometric data captured via 3D finger vein recognition, a system the researchers say is nearly impossible to forge, according to a report by TechXplore.

Using 3D vein imaging technology developed by the Idiap Research Institute in Martigny, the University of Applied Sciences in Sion (HES-SO Valais-Wallis) and Global ID, the new identification system can process data more safely than current standards.

“Two-dimensional vein recognition technology is already used throughout the world, but the system has its flaws,” said Lambert Sonna Momo, the founder of Global ID. “With 3-D analysis, the risk of counterfeits is essentially non-existent since we all have different veins.

The 3D finger vein scanner identifies individuals when they place their index finger on the sensor.

The portable scanner can potentially be used in a wide range of applications, including financial transaction authentications, border controls, and identifying patients in hospitals.

The scanner is currently undergoing pilot testing at Geneva University Hospitals and the University Teaching Hospital of Yaoundé in Cameroon.

To protect users’ private biometric information, Serge Vaudenay’s Security and Cryptography Laboratory developed a system that uses homomorphic encryption to ensure that the scanner and identification mechanisms process the data without actually decrypting them.

This process also prevents the risk of data being compromised during the collection and verification of an individual’s biometrics.

The communication algorithms developed at EPFL ensure that if any data is stolen, it can be immediately tracked right back to the device from which the data was leaked..

“The current systems don’t take into account these countries’ specific needs – their infrastructure is sometimes lacking and weather conditions can make things difficult,” said Sonna Momo.

The researchers tested the relatively inexpensive scanner (approximately US$298.36) on several hundred people in Cameroon in February in an effort to improve the algorithms’ accuracy for all skin types.

Global ID is working towards developing a manufactured prototype to demonstrate for potential investors by this summer.

In the meantime, the company is striving to offer “identification as a service” to hospitals and governments, which will enable the system to be rapidly rolled out without an upfront investment in infrastructure or personnel.

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