It is amazing how quickly you get used to a car that starts as long as you have the key somewhere on your person. When you switch vehicles, it becomes a nuisance to fish the key out and insert it into the ignition. Biometrics aims to make it even easier. Why carry around a key (or an access card), if a computer can uniquely identify you?
[Alexis Ospitia] wanted to experiment with vein matching biometrics and had good results with a Raspberry Pi, a web cam, and a custom IR illumination system. Apparently, hemoglobin is a good IR reflector and the pattern of veins in your hand is as unique as other biometrics (like fingerprints, ear prints, and retina vein patterns). [Alexis’] post is in Spanish, but Google Translate does a fine job as soon as you realize that it thinks “fingerprint” is “footprint.” The software uses OpenCV, but we’ve seen the same thing done in MATLAB (see the video below).
Fingerprint scanners looked promising, but there are concerns about them. They are easy to spoof and if they aren’t sophisticated enough, they are subject to a literal hack (we don’t want someone lurking around the ATM machine with a pair of bolt cutters). We figure a severed hand won’t have enough blood in it to fool this system, but we aren’t willing to test that theory.
There are commercial systems that use similar technology from Fijitsu, Toshiba, and others. We have to wonder if there are other places you might have unique vein patterns that would be useful to scan. We’ve talked about fingerprint scanners before, and while we’ve covered someone spoofing a hand scanner, we don’t think that method would work with this particular setup.