Fingerprint sensors on smartphones aren’t even mainstream yet, but they’re about to be obsoleted nevertheless. Bigtime.
Softbank, one of Japan’s biggest carriers, and Universal Robot have co-developed software that will allow you to unlock your smartphone with your palm pattern and veins. No, really.
How it works is easy enough, like the image above shows. You just hold your hand in view of your device’s camera (could be either rear or front-facing camera, we presume, but the latter has been demoed). Using the aforementioned software, your smartphone then checks if the palm and veins it sees really do belong to you. And that’s it.
Previously, a separate device/scanner was needed to perform this function. But now, Softbank and Universal Robot have developed their own algorithm that uses visible light to detect veins and palm patterns. Because of the combined use of veins as well as palm patterns, this implementation is highly accurate and stable.
So forget about the fact that the iPhone doesn’t even have a fingerprint sensor yet. In a few years, ‘slide to unlock’ may be replaced by ‘show me your hand to unlock’. Softbank and Universal Robot expect to commercialize their new tech by the end of fiscal 2012. That means that in about a year (give or take), some company somewhere will be putting this into an Android-powered smartphone.
And then when you buy such a device, you’ll just need to let it ‘scan’ your hand once, and from then on you’ll have an easy and accurate way of unlocking it. Well, at least more accurate than setting a ’1234′ PIN/password. And compared to Google’s Face Unlock, palm and vein-based authentication sounds less like a gimmick and more like an actually usable development.