Bank adds to biometric boom in Japan

A Japanese bank will install automated teller machines in its branches before the end of the year to identify users by their palm prints, joining the gradual shift here towards the wider use of biometric security systems.

Personal banking by palm print

Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank, which is based in the central Japan prefecture of Gifu, will initially deploy a dozen palm-scanning ATMs in September and intends to expand the system in the future.

The bank will be the first in Japan to introduce the system, which has been developed by electronics giant Fujitsu Ltd., and only the second in the world, after Turkish financial institution Ziraat Bank.

In Japan, however, there is increasing acceptance that biometric scanners will serve as identification systems in more and more situations.

Biometrics in the airport

In March, a panel of experts recommended that the Justice Ministry conduct tests on scanners to identify people through their faces, eyes or the pattern of the veins on their hands to help simplify and speed up airport immigration procedures.

At present, immigration officials identify travelers based on the photos in their passports.

A system has been set up at four airports in Japan that enables travelers to use gates that recognize their fingerprints, although the drawback to date is that it requires the fingerprints to be registered in advance.

The government is examining the cost and efficiency of the new biometric systems and, if they should prove effective, could deploy them as early as 2014.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is also examining the use of biometric identifiers in airports in the future and in November unveiled the security Checkpoint of the Future at its 67th Annual General Meeting and the World Air Transport Summit in Singapore.

Passengers approaching the checkpoint will be directed to one of three lanes: "known traveler," "normal" or "enhanced security."

That determination will be based on a biometric identifier in the passport or other travel document that triggers the results of a risk assessment conducted by government before the passenger arrives at the airport.

The three security lanes will have technology to check passengers according to risk.
"Known travelers" who have registered and completed background checks with government authorities will have more rapid access, while "normal screening" will be for the majority of travelers.

For passengers about whom less information is available, who are randomly selected or who are deemed to be an "elevated risk," there will be an additional level of screening.

Your  unique "bottom-print" could protect your car from theft

Japanese scientists are also working on a revolutionary vehicle anti-theft device that applies biometric principles to recognize the unique shape and pressure points of the approved driver's bottom.

The scientists, at Japan's Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology, began their research in 2010 and believe they will be ready to have the specially designed driver's seats in production as soon as 2014.

The team lined the seat with 360 sensors that are able to measure pressure on a scale of zero to 256. That information is then passed to a computer which aggregates the data and creates a precise map of the person as they are seated.

The sensors are both in the seat and the back rest and the device has proven to be 98 percent accurate in tests to date, the researchers said.

The scientists said the system has other advantages over security identification systems that rely on fingerprints or eye scans, which can produce incorrect responses when lighting is poor or when the sensor surfaces are not completely clean.