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Swiss researchers hunt for contactless palm vein biometric scanners for hospitals

Swiss researchers hunt for contactless palm vein biometric scanners for hospitals

Swiss entrepreneurs and researchers have announced an effort to create a mobile contactless scanner that reads hand veins as a biometric identifier.

The groups involved are startup Global ID S.A. and the Idiap Research Institute. The impetus for the two-year, $1.1 million Candy project is to reliably identify people in medical settings without having to clean scanners of potential COVID contamination.

The pair say they will build on a multi-spectral, high-definition sensor. An early version of the biometric device reportedly can read IDs through surgical gloves. Whole hands are captured, making it harder for criminals to spoof the system.

Global ID CEO Lambert Sonna says in a press release that the entities’ ultimate goal is to ensure security and data privacy while addressing central biometrics issues around reliability, robustness and cost. They have already developed a scanner capable of scanning veins through a surgical glove, and now hope to make the scanner fast and touchless.

Sébastien Marcel, head of Idiap’s group researching security and privacy in biometrics, emphasizes the importance of presentation attack detection for vein recognition. Idiap researchers have also developed a biohashing technique to protect vein biometric templates.

A similar, though retail-focused, biometric project is ongoing at Amazon. The company is deploying contactless palmprint scanners at some of its physical stores, and attracting the attention of privacy advocates.

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