NY researchers develop 3D finger vein biometric authentication
01 October 2020 16:46 GMT

Researchers from New York's University at Buffalo have developed a new biometric approach that uses 3D images of finger veins.

A team led by Jun Xia, from University at Buffalo, The State University of New York used photoacoustic tomography for 3D finger vein biometric authentication.

"The 3D finger vein biometric authentication method we developed enables levels of specificity and anti-spoofing that were not possible before,” said Xia. “Since no two people have exactly the same 3D vein pattern, faking a vein biometric authentication would require creating an exact 3D replica of a person’s finger veins, which is basically not possible.”

Described in the Optical Society (OSA) journal Applied Optics, the method creates an additional depth from a 3D image that increases security by making it more difficult to fake an identity.

“It has been challenging to use photoacoustic tomography for 3D finger vein biometric authentication because of the bulky imaging system, small field of view and inconvenient positioning of the hand,” said Xia. “We addressed these issues in the new system design through a better combination of light and acoustic beams and custom-made transducers to improve the imaging field of view.”

To better integrate light illumination and acoustic detection, the researcher fabricated a new light- and acoustic-beam combiner. They also designed an imaging window that allows the hand to be naturally placed on the platform, similar to a full-size fingerprint scanner. Another critical development was a new matching algorithm, developed by Wenyao Xu from the Computer science and Engineering department that allows biometric identification and matching of features in 3D space.

The researchers tested their new system with 36 people by imaging their four left and four right fingers. The tests showed that the approach was not only feasible but also accurate, especially when multiple fingers were used.

“We envision this technique being used in critical facilities, such as banks and military bases, that require a high level of security,” said Milione. “With further miniaturization 3D vein authentication could also be used in personal electronics or be combined with 2D fingerprints for two-factor authentication.”

The researchers are now working to make the system even smaller and to reduce the imaging time to less than one second. They note that it should be possible to implement the photoacoustic system in smartphones since ultrasound systems have already been developed for use in smartphones. This could enable portable or wearable systems that perform biometric authentication in real time.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many jobs and services are now performed remotely,” said research team member Giovanni Milione, from NEC Laboratories America, Inc. “Because our technique detects invisible features in 3D, it could be used to enable better authentication techniques to protect personnel data and sensitive documents.”


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