Palm Vein-based Biometric ID system for schools


October 25, 2006

October 26, 2006 When we first saw Fujitsu Europe’s plans to develop a palm vein biometric identification system for schools, we thought that perhaps it was a case of overkill, but the more we looked, the more it made sense. The initial system installation in a Scottish primary school addresses the need for a secure non-token or cashless system to provide Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) for their catering facilities. The system uses pre-registered palm vein patterns from the pupils and staff to manage individual accounts thereby creating a cashless catering solution. The flexibility of the PalmReader design means that the technology can be expanded to provide biometric access control applications to monitor truancy levels, facilitate accurate attendance at classes and overall better time management for teachers. The installation provides a glimpse of the coming cashless society and also the school of the future.

“This installation in the education sector provides a first glimpse of a school of the future,” said Mike Nelson, General Manager, Fujitsu Europe Limited. “Biometric solutions will increasingly allow us to move towards a cashless society and this project is one of the first real examples in the UK of an innovative and truly practical biometric solution in operation. I fully expect this to be the first of many similar implementations across Europe. Yarg Biometrics’ existing architecture and experience provide a strong match for Fujitsu’s PalmSecure technology. The partnership has provided a mechanism to quickly develop a unique, flexible and highly secure biometric solution suitable for a large range of applications. Yarg’s PalmReader offers a scaleable system that can be deployed for physical access control, computer system security as well as point of sale control.”

Alan Cunningham, Managing Director at Yarg Biometrics said, “An increasing number of businesses and public sector organisations are looking towards biometric technologies for a multitude of uses. The PalmReader product is initially going to take the hassle out of dealing with cash transactions for pupils but this is only the first step in the use of this product. This is a quicker and easier system for pupils to use. It also removes the social stigma often attached to free school meals.” “The technology used here has positive applications well beyond the school canteen. Easy to use biometrics could be of value to large companies that want to protect their premises and employees; or to hotels that want to offer guests the benefits of keyless entry to their facilities. I am delighted that a Scottish company is at the forefront of such innovation.”

The biometric system is based on Fujitsu’s contact-less PalmSecure palm vein authentication technology, which incorporates a device to emit near-infrared light to capture a unique palm vein pattern of the user that can be used for personal identification. The palm vein pattern in an individual’s hand is unique from person to person and even between one’s left and right hands. As veins are inside the body, a palm vein pattern is extremely difficult to falsify, and there is no need for surface contact thereby enabling hygienic use in public places.

Yarg Biometrics, an innovative Scottish biometrics company, collaborated with Fujitsu Europe to develop Yarg’s PalmReader device, based on Fujitsu’s PalmSecure technology. The technology was implemented by a partnership between Yarg and Fujitsu at Todholm Primary School in Paisley, Scotland.

The project is part of the Scottish Executive’s “Hungry for Success” initiative to promote the health and social wellbeing of children in Scotland, with a focus on school meals.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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